The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Faye Chantelle Mon­de­sir

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 beter ac­cess to health care ser­vices.

There was more talk­ing this week as an­other woman re­vealed her hor­rific story of rape. This af­ter a day­light rape of a shop at­ten­dant at Mon­gi­raud in Fe­bru­ary.

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