May 12, 2016 News
…woman tells her story of abuse
By Jeanna Pearson
A young woman was lured, beaten and forced to have sex with her former foster parent while his wife looked on. Someone allegedly videoed the entire episode of abuse.
This woman is ashamed to be photographed because, she says, she feels less of a person after the video of the act was posted on the internet.
“He called me and told me to come to the guest house. When I reached there and opened the door him, his wife and another person was sitting on the bed waiting for me,” the 20-year-old said.
“Then his wife grab me and ripped my clothes and tell me that I wanted her husband so she will give me a licking. Then she tell me to perform oral sex on him while they watch.”
The young woman, who was 19 years old at the time of the abuse, said she quickly obeyed because it was three of them against her and she was afraid that they would kill her.
She said that she went to live with the couple after her parents died and her family “split up” when she was 14 years old.
She would clean the house and complete her chores on time, she said. But afterward when she would retire to her room, she recalled, the man would come and try to touch her. Complaining did her no justice, she stated, remembering that every time she told her foster mom, the woman would chide her for lying.
“She never believed me. She believed everything he told her,” she said.
She said that right after the recent assault she called a friend and they went to the Brickdam Police Station, where a statement was taken and a medical certificate was provided. Yet, eight months later, the police have failed to bring her justice. She is continuously being harassed with death threats.
She said the police had informed her that the file would be taken to the Director of Public Prosecution for advice on the matter. She said that she was being bombarded by the couple that if she pushed the issue there will be fatal consequences.
She said that the police might not have done anything if the video was not uploaded on the internet. ‘A’ Divisional Commander, Assistant Commissioner Clifton Hicken, stated that the police were aware of the matter and are investigating.
However, now she is forced to not only battle the trauma of the assault but also that the video has gone viral.
She has been receiving counseling since the traumatic incident. She has contemplated suicide and she had suffered bouts of depression after the video went viral. “When I saw the video I felt really bad. I wanted to kill myself but I didn’t do it because I was receiving counseling. They wanted to ruin me. I didn’t have any relationship with that man,” she said, nervously rubbing her hands against the side of the chair.
She said the man had started “touching” and “rubbing her foot” when she was 16 years old. “The police are saying they don’t have enough evidence and it is disappointing. I felt disappointed with the police because they did nothing to help me get justice.”
Psychologist Dr. Dawn Stewart, who has been counseling the young lady, stated that she suffered significant emotional trauma after the assault and it escalated further when the video was posted on the internet.
“This mother who has a one-year-old child wanted to kill herself and her child. She thought no one was listening to her, no one trusted her, no one believed her and she still has trouble sleeping at nights. She wakes up in the middle of the night, remembering the gruesome assault.
“She said the video became her only evidence yet nothing moving on the law enforcement side. She said the persons were brought in for questioning by the police but was later released on bail.
“Why aren’t these persons prosecuted for their action? She hasn’t been given justice. Women need protection from the State!” Stewart said.
“The police need to investigate and bring charges against these people. The justice system is too slow…I believe that they don’t care and they take women for granted and this is a perfect example. When her first complaint was lodged it was completely ignored,” she indicated.
Stewart added that even if a woman “puts herself in a place where she can be raped or sexually assaulted, it is still unlawful for the perpetrator to commit the act.
“Because someone was raped or sexually assaulted that doesn’t mean that they dressed a way to attract that sort of attention or they acted a way that they should be raped. Rape is rape regardless of whatever the situation they find themselves in. Women’s lives matter. We need to be assertive and aggressive about taking care of our women,” she said.
She stated that Public Security Ministry should start adopting a “swift justice” method in handling cases of violence against women.
“This young lady needs to start her life over but she cannot do that if these people are not brought before the legal system.”
According to the United States Department of State 2015 report on this country’s human rights, local NGOs in Guyana observed that in most cases domestic violence reports were not taken confidentially but rather were discussed in the open at police stations. They were not treated as a matter of urgency.
For last year, law enforcement received 233 reports of rape and only 36 persons were charged. There was a large court backlog. A Judge has discretion to issue a sentence of any length in a rape conviction, depending upon the circumstances and severity of the act committed.
The police received 2,170 reports of domestic violence cases, and 1,131 persons were charged, resulting in a lack of confidence in the judicial system.
The report indicated that there are reports of police accepting bribes from perpetrators and other reports of Magistrates applying inadequate sentences after conviction.
Child Counselor Abigail Loncke told Kaieteur News, that she was left sickened by the content of the video. “I cannot imagine the emotional and psychological trauma that young lady must be going through,” she said, highlighting the woman not only has to deal with the trauma of the assault but also that the video was viral.
“It is painful enough to be abused but then to have the whole country know about that abuse…that you were beaten and then forced to perform sex on someone while others watched on that’s not only sadistic, but a life scar. These people were once entrusted to protect her – that too is traumatic. The mother figure forcing a girl to have sex with the father figure— that is unacceptable,” she said.
The United Nations Organization had reported that as many as seven in ten women in various parts of the world report having experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some point of their lives, most times at the hands of persons close to them.
The Heads of the organization have since called on Governments to honour their obligation to end violence against women and girls as outlined in the Convention of the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Rape victims and victims of sexual assault face bouts of low self-esteem, high risk behavior, while some of them exhibit suicidal behaviour.
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