Tianna Thomas posted this to our facebook wall and gave us permission to share it here. It revolves around the way in which a man who allegedly killed a four-year-old boy is absolved from blame by some members of the public who choose to focus instead, on accusing the boy’s 17-year-old aunt of making a false accusation of rape. (The young woman has since reported that she too feared for her life and was raped by the assailant). As if an assumed false rape claim should either overshadow or justify the murder of a 4-year-old. Why is the young woman, who had nothing to do with murdering an infant, on trial here? What does it mean when some of us are able to completely bypass the murder of a child and focus instead on calling the young woman a liar as if to suggest that not only is she culpable in the boy’s death but that she is MORE culpable than the man that killed him and raped her!
I was just reading a story on the Demarara Waves Facebook site about a man who stabbed a 4 year old boy to death after allegedly raping the child’s 17 year old aunt. In the comments, there was this remark left by a female commenter:
“This is so damn sad and that’s a wicked aunt, she is now claiming “rape” because that child walked in on them, he was 4 years omg by next week he would have forgot that already, I’m sure he didn’t even understand what was going on, they could have make up so damn lie and tell him, now she being a wicked aunt ran away and look what she has to live with now, the man she was just sexing Murdered her nephew, she wouldn’t want to see a next Penis for the rest of her wicked life. How could he look at that child and stab him for being cause in his wicked dead, sexing his sis in law omg, she should kill her damn self”.
Needless to say, I was horrified by the commenter’s words. It brings to light a bigger problem within the myriad of other issues with society’s response to victims of sexual assault. It’s something I have noticed while living in Guyana. There always seems to be someone placing some degree of blame on the victim. Mind you, the article said NOTHING about the aunt bearing false witness against the person accused of the murder. Whether the allegations of rape are true or not is not clear at the moment (the girl has been taken to the hospital for a medical screening), but it is sickening to see that even though she herself may be a victim in the case, instead of being met with the appropriate care that victims of sexual assault need, she is met with blame. This woman goes as far to ask the alleged victim to “kill herself”. THIS is the reason why so many sexual assaults go unreported. THIS is the reason why many assault victims would rather take monetary compensation than go through the often degrading process of trial. THIS is why may victims commit suicide. Blame is placed only on the victim and not with the attacker, where it belongs. I don’t know if the alleged victim is being truthful, but who am I or who is anyone else to say that she is lying? Especially since the investigation has just commenced? Ugh. I apologize again for the lengthy post. This has been on my heart since I read the story and I just needed someplace to rant.
Guyanese activist Sherlina Nageer also pointed out, “in addition to the individual condemnation of this young woman, there’s also the institutional disregard that makes this even worse. when she ran to the police station seeking help, they told her that she was ‘hostile’, “and that I shouldn’t be making noise in the station.”