Gang rapes are not a regular occurrence in Guyana but very little is being done for the victims who are often forced to accept compensation to erase the shame and to make their own provisions to deal with the emotional scar that they are left with.
Within the last month there have been two reports of gang rape occurring at different ends of the country; one at Kuru Kuru College on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway and the other at Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo.
In a third case that Stabroek News had listed as a gang rape, a 17-year-old girl had reported that she was raped at a creek along the Linden/Soesdyke Highway. A police official has since clarified that the teen was raped by one man in the full view of other men who were also at the location. A minibus driver and two men were arrested but were released. The alleged rapist is still to be found.
Speaking to Stabroek News recently a member of a women’s affairs organisation said that reported cases of gang rapes are few. She said that within recent times, there have been two cases that she is aware of.
The official noted that victims would get counselling through various organisations and while this is short term, “it has worked a bit”.
A law enforcement source expressed the belief that not much is being done to help victims of gang rape. He informed Stabroek News that in the case of the 14-year-old girl who was gang raped at Tuschen, the teen received no counselling and has since disappeared after reportedly accepting compensation from one of the perpetrators.
Reports are that on May 25 after consuming alcohol at a shop the teen was taken to an area called the “Blacka” by a group of men. It was an alert taxi driver who raised an alarm around 11.30 pm. The child who was naked and bleeding was lying in a clump of bushes. The area where she was found is dark and desolate at nights. The teen was taken to the hospital where it was confirmed that she was raped and sodomized but the police could do very little to help her since she kept saying she could not remember and was very uncooperative with ranks.
When she was found she appeared to be intoxicated. The taxi driver was held but was later released on station bail. The prime suspect who lives in the Tuschen area was identified but he is yet to be arrested.
According to the source the teen disappeared less than two weeks after the incident occurred. He said that reports have surfaced that she accepted compensation. Despite this, the source said, the prime suspect is still being pursued. The source said that if he is caught, all efforts will be made to find her so that charges can be laid in the matter.
The source added that it is disappointing to know that nothing was done to help the teen who has reportedly found herself in similar positions two or three times before. In each case this newspaper was told the teen claimed she couldn’t remember what happened and was reportedly compensated.
According to the official, the Ministry of Human Services should have stepped in and ensured that the teen received counselling and carried out their own investigation. “I am very disappointed that nothing much was done in this case after the police worked so hard”, he said explaining that an aunt that the girl was staying with, has also offered very little assistance.
He noted that in the Region Three area there are a lot of rape and domestic violence cases that go unreported because compensation is being accepted. “They getting settle privately because of the embarrassment”, the source pointed out.
He added too that police should start treating rape matters very seriously once a report is made. “People must not be allowed to settle the matter. She (the teen) is very young and more should have been done for her”, he noted.
He said that on the night she was found it was clear that she had been violated and there were impressions (like hand prints) still on her body.
The source noted too that urgent attention needs to be paid to the area where the incident occurred as it is a haven for criminal activity particularly on Sundays.
Meanwhile, a Board of Inquiry is in its final stages of investigations into an alleged gang rape that occurred at the Training Centre on May 12. In this incident the female student alleged that she was raped by three male students, one of whom disappeared. The young woman was afraid to report the incident to the administrators, this newspaper was told but later confided in her parents and this led to a report to the police.
The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport (MCYS) subsequently announced that a Board of Inquiry had been set up to investigate the incident while expressing disappointment that it had occurred
A source revealed to this newspaper recently that the members of the Board of Inquiry were in their final stages of the investigation. Once this had been completed a report would be handed over to the minister. Stabroek News understands that it is at this point that the police would once again become involved.
According to the source, the alleged perpetrators have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
This newspaper was told that in a case like this counselling is offered to the victim.
The source said that this is the first such known incident of its kind to have occurred there.
A police official told this newspaper that the suspects who were arrested were sent on bail to allow the Ministry to conduct their own investigation. “Right now that matter is out of our hands”, the official stressed.