General News of Monday, 13 March 2017
Suicide experts have warned the 13-year-old supposed virgin who not too long ago suffered a gang rape inside a bush in the Upper East region could end up taking her own life just to put an end to a growing battle with stigma and trauma.
A video showing how she was ruthlessly defiled at night in the Talensi District has rippled beyond the region on a scale the experts say could push the girl, who dropped out from school when she was in primary three, into doing to herself the unthinkable.
“The best thing is psychosocial support for the girl. For now, she is going through a lot of trouble,” the Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Children, Georgina Aberese-Ako, told Starr News.
Founder and Coordinator of the Apuko Counselling Services, Peter Apuko Awuni, gave strong remarks that the victim may grow up to hate men, if she escapes suicide through timely interventions, and may also mentor her offspring to dislike men based on her rape experience.
“It’s just like most of the things that can push human beings to take their lives. This is one of them. She is also hopeless at this material moment. She is saddened and she wishes that she goes far away where nobody will see her. Fortunately, in the video, you will not see her face. Her family should not let anybody have access to her pictures. Support is great. But the best thing I’m suggesting is she needs to be taken to a virgin place- a place where she is not known.
“It should be done immediately because as the seconds tick, people are looking to take her picture in the community to share it with the video. When she gets to a new environment, she can start a new life. She gets into a different school. The medical checkup must also be immediate to check any possible infections acquired from the criminal act,” Mr. Awuni, who is an anti-suicide counselling expert, stressed in an interview with Starr News.
How she was lured into the bush
Police say the incident took place at Tindongo; but members of the Tindongo community have strongly rejected claims the crime was perpetrated in their area.
“It’s not true that it happened in our community. The community has no idea about the incident,” the Assemblyman for Tindongo-Namoligo Electoral Area, Benedict B. Ledzore, told Starr News.
Information made available by the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) has it that the victim was sent by her mother, who resides at Namoligo, to the market. Whilst at the market, she asked of the whereabouts of her friend from two men who were familiar faces in the community. The men offered her assistance by taking her on a motorcycle to where the friend lived.
“The guys said her friend was in the house. They took this victim with the pretext of going to show her where the friend was at that moment. So, as they went to the friend’s house, the friend was not there. They decided to bring her to the market square again. On the way, the adult suspect ordered the girl and the minor suspect to get down from the motorbike and ordered them to undress and lie on the ground.
“First, they resisted, so the adult suspect decided to give them some slaps. After the slaps, they decided to do it to avoid any further slaps. Both of them lay on the ground. He asked the minor to have sex with the victim and, as the act was going on, he was videoing. Akwasi Zamnock, who is now on the run, is wanted for abetment of crime to wit defilement and obscenity,” DOVVSU’s Deputy Upper East Regional Coordinator, ASP Veronica Obese, said.
The girl, for reasons not disclosed yet, kept the horror secret from her mother when she returned home. It is also not known yet if she lives with both parents. Her unemployed mother only got to know about it when she sighted the video in the market only after it had widely been watched on phones by children and adults in the community. She interrogated her daughter and subsequently headed for the police station with her.
Why more girls could be raped and filmed
For three reasons, police cannot prosecute those involved in the recent rape-defilement case. And until those reasons are dealt with, the perpetrators may continue to walk free and the region may, as a disturbing result, see more rape and defilement cases unleashed.
It has been difficult for prosecution to take off because the gang leader, who assumed the role of a ‘presiding officer’ by supervising the rape whilst passionately filming the crime, has fled. Besides, the true age of the one captured in the video ‘deflowering’ the wailing teenager, according to DOVVSU, cannot be determined yet and for that matter he cannot be arraigned in court because he has neither a birth certificate nor a health insurance card to help establish if he is a minor or an adult.
He has been left off the hook for now because he claims he is a minor, pending advice from the Attorney-General’s Office. And thirdly, the traumatised victim cannot produce a medical report to the police for court prosecution to begin because her family is too poor to raise Gh¢300- a nonnegotiable amount reportedly charged by a medical doctor- to endorse her police medical report form.
“Whether the person who defiled her is a minor or an adult, he still can face the law to deter others. And if prosecution has to stall because huge amounts of money are being charged for endorsement of medical forms, rapists would begin to target vulnerable girls because they now know there would not be any prosecution once their poor targets cannot afford the high fees charged for medical report endorsements. So, we are likely to see more rape cases, even more video recordings of the crime and fewer prosecutions,” Mr. Awuni strongly warned.
What the victim and the rape gang leader said in the video
The conversations captured in the 2-minute rape video were done in Talen, the dialect spoken in the Talensi District.
The helpless victim, who uttered a loud cry and wriggled without a moment of rest for more than120 seconds in the clip, can be heard directing her pleas at the two assailants: I will die. I’m sick. It’s hurting me! If I had known about your plans, I would not have come with you. Would you send me back when you are done with me?”
The one on top of the girl was half-naked and mute all through the clip. The gang leader barked his orders at the unstable victim: “You won’t die! Open your legs properly! Open your legs well and lie flat! It would enter if you open your legs well. Stop wailing. Has it entered? (the girl quickly said yes, feigning penetration at that point, just to gain her freedom) Keep quiet! It hasn’t entered. Allow us finish and we will go. We are going as soon as we finish. Have you ejaculated (asking his busy companion who did not reply)? It has entered (when the girl suddenly let out the loudest yell). Carry on (urging his alleged gang mate).”
At a point he proposed an uninterrupted kiss between the two whilst the act was going on, saying that was how lovemaking was done, but the girl resisted.
Furious residents, after watching the video of the brutal rape, have called for severe punishments for the perpetrators. Whilst some say the one lying with the girl in the video is a minor and should be pardoned because he was compelled to defile a fellow teenager, a number of people also have strongly disagreed, saying the act had been well planned and that the assaulter is a far cry from a minor.
A middle-aged man, moments after viewing the clip, hopped mad in an interview with Starr News.
“He’s not a small boy. Look, his buttocks, his buttocks alone show that he is not a small boy. This guy is not a small boy. And somebody doing it for the first time would have that guilt in him as the [girl] was saying ‘it’s paining me, it’s paining me’. He was still forcing to do it. He is a grownup.
“This guy should be arrested and if I were the judge, he would go 30 years in hard labour and I would go there to supervise that he is doing the work. These are criminals. Looking at the guy’s [manhood] alone shows that he is not a small boy. People should watch the video again. The [sex organ] shows that he is a mature guy. Is that small boy’s buttocks? His penis alone, even some women cannot take it! Watch the video again,” he raged.