400 females raped in T&T over last decade – report

(Trinidad Express) More than 400 females were raped at gunpoint and/or gang raped over the past ten years in this country, a report from the Medical Research Foundation (MRF) has stated.

Among the victims were a 14-year-old girl who was raped by ten men; a 61-year-old woman who was raped by five men; and a “mentally sub-normal” 25-year-old woman who was raped by four men.

The MRF, the largest HIV/AIDS treatment and research centre in the Commonwealth Caribbean with a total of more than 6,800 patients, produced its findings yesterday.

Prof Courtney Bartholomew is the director of the MRF.

The preliminary report issued “only records the experience of the MRF” and “it is obvious that there are many more cases in the island”, the MRF’s release stated.

According to the MRF statistics, 983 people were raped during the period between January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2012.

“Of these 983 persons, 957 were females and 26 were males who were raped by other men,” the MRF report stated.

The majority of those who were raped, 539 people, were from the age group 11-20.

Twenty-four of those raped were over 50 years old, including two in their 70s and three in their 80s. The oldest was 86 years old.

Eighteen females were raped while they were pregnant.

Seventy-three of the rapists used condoms and 30 of the female victims were already HIV-infected at the time of the rape, according to the MRF report.

Listed as the most notable among the horrific statistics is the fact that 43 per cent of the female victims were raped at gunpoint and/or gang raped.

Some “227 were raped at gunpoint and 195 were gang raped by two or more rapists”.

Among those who were gang raped was a 21-year-old woman and a 25-year-old “mentally sub-normal” woman who was raped by four men.

Two teenage girls, aged 14 and 15, and a 61-year-old woman were raped by five men.

A 22-year-old woman was raped by six men and a 16-year-old girl was raped by seven men, the MRF report stated.

The most gruesome of the “notably” horrific incidents was the rape of a 14-year-old girl by ten men.

“Unlike the situation in the occupational setting in hospitals where the HIV status of the source patient of a needle stick injury is either known or can be readily determined, in cases of rape the status of the assailant is unavailable,” the MRF release stated.

Of the 983 rape victims, a virgin who was gang raped was eventually found to be HIV positive as a result of the rape.

“Obviously, not all rapists are HIV-positive, or if they are positive, they may not be in the early or late phases of the disease, which are the most infectious periods.

“As all patients who are raped are extremely anxious to know whether they are infected with HIV, it is consoling to find our studies show that HIV transmission is extremely rare in cases of rape. The same applies to needle stick injuries.

“Since 30 of the women were already HIV-positive before the rapes it is possible that a rapist may become infected with HIV from an HIV-infected woman or man,” the MRF release stated.

In addition to treating HIV/AIDS patients, Nurse Avion Quava-Jones, considered to be the most experienced in her field, has been assigned by Bartholomew to “report to the staff, treat and counsel victims of rape and needle stick injuries”.

The statistics released by the MRF come more than a week after the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service’s Crime and Problem Analysis Branch (CAPA) presented crime statistics over the past five years.

In the CAPA statistics, it was noted that “sexual offences” reached a five-year high last year, with 1,020 incidents being reported.

From January 1, 2008 to December 30, 2012, some 3,956 sexual offences were reported, CAPA results stated.

The MRF statistics also come at a time when the international spotlight is focused on a case in Delhi, India, where five men have been charged with the abduction, rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman.


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