Victim: 13 years old! Ten accused rapists/ abusers/ school children, all between the ages of 14 and 16 years. Crime scene – school! This is really bad news for SVG and especially for the victim and parents. How can we live with this? This is a grievous crime perpetuated against a 13-year-old and by extension our society. A year has already elapsed. How is she coping? We gathered that the father is unhappy and that this crime occurred on his birthday. So sad! I would hope that the relevant care is given to this child of tender age. I would hope that her home and village would give her the support that she needs at this crucial time in her life. Think of the trauma she has experienced. Moreover she must carry this burden for the rest of her life. Therapy might help to ease the burden but not totally erase it. We all know about the effect of traumas. We all experience a few some time in our lives. They are difficult to forget. They weigh heavily on the mind; they encompass our whole being. They leave painful memories. Help her live a wholesome life. Her mother went through the same rigors.
I have written time and time again about this grievous crime of rape. Rape is an insult to the females who experienced it. It is nonconsensual in other words the victim does not give consent and it is against her will. The victim is forced into the sexual act/ intercourse by physical force or threats of injury. The fear of molestation and rape is uppermost in the minds of most females. We have to be always walking on the right street and at the right time. This is no way to live. Such constraint is unacceptable. There has also been rape/incest in the home. Now rape has reared its ugly head, in the most vicious way, in our school, the music room to be precise, where children are supposed to appreciate the finer things in life. Why were these children unattended? Where were the other children when 10 boys hatched their plot? How did this happen? Sex education is more vital than ever. Boys must be taught about the consequences of sex without consent. They must know about sexually transmitted diseases. They must know about the consequences for their actions.
So many things are done in secret and I believe many of our females carry grave secrets throughout their lives. We were all shocked by the number of revelations in the United States where many women said that they were subjected to sexual assault or rape during the early part of their lives. Obviously they were afraid to speak at that time. The “Me Too” movement released so much pent up emotions. Started in 2006 it gained momentum in 2017. An American actress, Alyssa Milano, popularized it. Many men of high stature were brought down in the United States. People are hurting from rape and sexual abuse. Minors are to be protected at all costs from the trauma of rape. The schools must be more vigilant even if it means employing more staff especially in co-ed schools. It has to be done because children are our future. This incident must not be repeated.
Rape is a crime where, in the case of an adult, lengthy prison sentences are imposed. Minors are often treated more leniently. Crowd misbehavior must not be followed instinctively. We must rebuke bad behavior in our young men.
Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law. E-mail address is: [email protected]