I read with sadness of little Sade Stoby’s brutal murder.
Perhaps one reason for the prevalence of rape is that the official statistics show that there are few convictions. 79% of the cases disappear by the end of the preliminary investigation which draws attention to the way complaints are handled by the police and magistrate’s courts.
The report “Without conviction, sexual violence cases in the Guyana Justice process” states that sexual violence crimes against women and children are escalating daily in Guyana. While noting the alarming statistics it cites the ineffectiveness of the courts as even more troubling.
The justice system is weakened because of:
(a) Lack of qualified professionals
(b) Inadequate resources to train and renumerate officers and staff.
(c) Outdated systems and practices.
(d)” Unreconstructed chauvinism of the legal culture in Guyana,” to quote the report.
The judicial process is an experience frequently as traumatic for the victims as the original sexual violence. There is revictimisation resulting from coldness, suspicion and humiliating treatment. With less and less reason to go to law, the perpetrators of sexual violence crimes will operate with increasing impunity. The depressing logic at work is that the more people are charged, the less likely it is that any of them will be convicted.