Local human rights organisations, support groups and concerned members of the public are continuing to advocate for the basic human rights of rape and abuse victims and their families to be respected, not to mention cries for a justice system which will bring perpertrators swiftly to justice. This, following a series of incidents involving the sexual violation of unsuspecting women in Saint Lucia recently.
The latest incident coming to light involves a 51 year-old woman from the community of Mon Repos. Last year, shockwaves was sent through the community and the island as a whole, following the brutal rape of a 97-year-old woman there. The latest incident has again shaken up the community.
The STAR has since learnt that a 27-year-old man has been formally charged for the latest incident.
Reports indicate that the victim had been attending a community event, after which she was attacked, having been followed to a secluded area where she is said to have gone to urinate. The incident was reported to have occurred at approximately10 p.m. on Sunday, February 21, 2016.
According to the victim, in spite of her efforts to defend herself, her attacker was successful in constraining
her and proceeded to choke her. Her life, she says was threatened, if she retorted or screamed.
Human Rights advocate, Felicia Browne in a press release via the media in January of 2016 made an appeal for legal and medical services to be provided to rape victims. According to her, ‘the victims of rape and other forms of sexual assault have experienced physical and mental health conditions, often including acute traumatic injuries. “Acute traumatic injuries in sexual assault can be relatively minor, including scratches, bruises, and welts. However, some women sustain fractures, head and facial trauma, lacerations, bullet wounds, or even death,” she stated.
Police statistics on sexual offences report that for the year 2015, the Sexual Offences Category saw a decrease of twenty-four cases or 9% from 2014. In relation to detection rates, 2015 saw a 53% detection rate as compared to 62% in 2014, while overall there was a decrease in Sexual Offences for 2015. However, the offence of rape showed an increase of 11 cases, with the detection rate decreasing by 11% for Sexual Offences.
Meanwhile, on Monday March 7th, 2016 Zandoli International Foundation and Zandoli Saint Lucia met with Health Minister Alvina Reynolds to deliver a petition for the establishment of a Saint Lucia Sex Offenders Registry. The organization remains concerned about the rapes and child molestation figures recorded locally over the past decades. They say that the recent increase in statistics for
sex crimes released by the police warrants further concern.
This week several defenders of government did what they did best as they shifted blame on the media for the way incidents of rape and suicides were reported. They failed to call for more scientific research as to the root causes of some of our problems or made any demands from public officials for greater accountability when it comes to providing the nation with resources such as an operational forensic lab. No word either on better access to health care services.