I feel that finally the victims of rape in Guyana are on the road to receiving some amount of justice for what happened to them after reading that Justice Winston Patterson had sentenced a man to 50 years in prison for raping an underage girl. I commend him for that landmark judgment and hope that other judges would tread in his path so that justice prevails, the perpetrators will be placed behind bars where they belong, and that the rest of society can feel a sense of relief.
However as I applaud the judicial aspect of this case, I would in the future like to see that the Government of Guyana establish a department within the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security to assist the victims of rape. What we have taken for granted over the years is the amount of psychological harm the victim suffers, both during and after the ordeal. These women are left scarred, traumatized and sometimes walk around with a feeling of guilt that the rape may have been their fault. Some carry feelings of animosity towards their parents or guardians for not believing them before the act of rape was even carried out, as in the case mentioned above. We need a department which will counsel and treat these victims and their families. Over the years, dozens of organizations have sprung up to deal with the victims of HIV/AIDS, but none for the victims of rape; they have been left to deal with their psychological scars alone.