Category Archives: Rape/War Crimes

Raped and Forced to Give Blood to Jihadi Captors

Yazidi sex slave held by ISIS with her baby reveals how they forced girls to give transfusions to keep wounded fighters alive

  • First Yazidi sex slave to bravely reveal her identity exposes horror of ISIS 
  • Hamshe describes being held captive by jihadis with her young baby boy 
  • The 19-year-old was seized after her husband was murdered by militants 
  • She says: ‘They forced Yazidi girls to give blood to wounded fighters’  
  • BBC Arabic investigation finds pioneering activist tracking hundreds of kidnapped victims 

By LARISA BROWN FOR MAILONLINE

Sex slave: Hamshe, a Yazidi girl from Iraq, is only 19 yet has suffered enough torment for a lifetime, having been held captive as a sex slave by Isis militants for 28 days with her baby before she escaped

Sex slave: Hamshe, a Yazidi girl from Iraq, is only 19 yet has suffered enough torment for a lifetime, having been held captive as a sex slave by Isis militants for 28 days with her baby before she escaped

A pregnant teenager who was captured by Islamic State militants has revealed how girls are being forced to give blood transfusions to keep their attackers alive.

Hamshe – who is understood to be the first Yazidi slave to reveal her identity – has told of how sickening Islamist jihadists have been using the blood of captured women and children for wounded fighters in the battlefield.

The 19-year-old, who also has a baby with her husband who is believed to have been murdered by militants, was held captive for 28 days before she escaped.

She said: ‘When each of them took a Yazidi girl, one of them took me to his house and locked me inside a room and told me ‘I will not give you food or water if you refuse to marry me’.’

‘They forced the Yazidi girls to donate blood to IS wounded fighters. Which God allows these acts?’

Hamshe's escape from captivity with Isis was dramatic: 'One night my baby was crying from thirst. I knocked at the door and saw all the guards sleeping outside. I took a bottle of water from them and I ran away with my baby and walked for four hours'

Hamshe’s escape from captivity with Isis was dramatic: ‘One night my baby was crying from thirst. I knocked at the door and saw all the guards sleeping outside. I took a bottle of water from them and I ran away with my baby and walked for four hours’

Dressed in all black and wearing a headscarf while slumped on a dirty floor in Iraq, she described how she managed to run away from her captors while holding her baby.

‘One night my baby was crying from thirst. I knocked at the door and saw all the guards sleeping outside. I took a bottle of water from them and I ran away with my baby and walked for four hours’, she said.

She said she came across an Arab man who took her into his home and looked after her for three days. She added: ‘Then they drove me to a Peshmerga checkpoint in Barda Rash. I was at the checkpoint for 7 hours. Then my brother came and took me back home.’

Her mother added: ‘I couldn’t imagine that my daughter will come back. We thank God for that. Our family is destroyed. The Yazidi community has been destroyed.

‘This tragedy has done us enough damage for the rest of our lives.’

Speaking of the moment she was captured by IS militants and moved to a different location in Iraq, Hamshe added: ‘I can never forget when they separated men and women from each other. It was very painful to witness women and girls being taken as a war spoils.

‘Each IS fighter was holding the hand of a Yazidi girl and took her for himself. It was harder than facing death.’

Her plight – and that of many others – was revealed in a new documentary, Slaves of the Caliphate, which screened on BBC Arabic.

Horrific memories: Hamshe told campaigner Nareen Shammo, left, how Isis forced Yazidi girls to donate blood to IS wounded fighters. Hamshe asked: 'Which God allows these acts?'

Horrific memories: Hamshe told campaigner Nareen Shammo, left, how Isis forced Yazidi girls to donate blood to IS wounded fighters. Hamshe asked: ‘Which God allows these acts?’

Activist Nareen Shammo has been keeping tracks of hundreds of kidnapped women and has worked tirelessly to locate them and negotiate their return. She said of the blood transfusions: ‘I work on the Yazidi cases every day.

‘This is the first time I’ve heard such a thing, they even take our girls and old women’s blood. They use it for their wounded IS fighters.’

It is the latest example of the depraved lengths Islamist jihadists are willing to go to in the name of Islam.

The horror of Isis fighters taking Yazidi sex slaves was revealed in an Amnesty International report last December. It found that Islamic State is kidnapping thousands of women and girls as young as 12. They are then traded in open markets as sex slaves for as little as £16 each.

Too young: The BBC documentary about sex slaves being held by Isis in Iraq and Syria shows how girls in refugee camps, like this girl above, are vulnerable to attack 

Too young: The BBC documentary about sex slaves being held by Isis in Iraq and Syria shows how girls in refugee camps, like this girl above, are vulnerable to attack 

After being abducted from their homes, they are sold as playthings to the highest bidder, usually IS commanders, or gifted to the ‘bravest’ fighters as rewards for their services to jihad.

Ms Shammo, who has come under constant death threats, has been using Facebook to identify young captured slaves and communicates with them on their mobiles, which they hide from the militants.

At one point during the footage, a militant seizes the phone of a girl she is trying to rescue and adds: ‘The truth is they’re in IS hands, they will convert to Islam and live under IS protection.’

Another victim, who was captured by fighters at the age of 21, said she had been told to agree to be a gift for Abu Bakir Al Baghdadi, the head of IS, but she had refused.

She said: ‘I saw everything, I saw girls being raped, I witnessed their torture. I saw babies separated from their mothers. Some children were 5 and 6 years old when they were taken from their families.

‘They killed our fathers, uncles and everyone. There is no horror I haven’t experienced. I lost my senses.

‘There is nothing worse than rape.

‘One of the leaders took a 13-year-old girl to his house, locked the room and told his children she is a Yazidi girl who converted to Islam, that he will teach her how to pray and read the Koran.

‘In fact he was raping her during that time. She told me she was raped there for three days.’

Refugee families: This little boy lives in a refugee camp where no woman or girl is safe from the attentions of Isis

Refugee families: This little boy lives in a refugee camp where no woman or girl is safe from the attentions of Isis

The Islamic State believe that captive Yazidi women are like property, exchanging them in some cases for as much as $10,000 each.

Over 300 women have been released since August 2014 but it is estimated that over 2600 women remain captive.

The Yazidi religious minority community in Iraq says 3,500 of its women and girls are still being held by the so-called Islamic State (IS), many being used as sex slaves.

Escaped slaves have told how they are traded in vile markets where men barter for their bodies.

According to a document, obtained by website Iraqinews.com, just £27 will fetch a Yazidi or Christian woman aged between 40 and 50.

Chillingly, a child between one and nine will fetch four times that.

One escaped slave told the BBC: ‘They put us up for sale. Many groups of fighters came to buy. We couldn’t sleep properly because new groups came at all hours,’ she says, almost whispering.

Human tragedy: Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walked towards the Syrian border last August 11, 2014

Human tragedy: Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walked towards the Syrian border last August 11, 2014

Living in misery: A woman collects water in a Yazidi refugee camp in Iraq where Isis target vulnerable girls as young as 12 to become sex slaves 

Living in misery: A woman collects water in a Yazidi refugee camp in Iraq where Isis target vulnerable girls as young as 12 to become sex slaves 

‘Sometimes they brought girls back who had been beaten, injured. When they recovered, they were sold again. Eventually, they took all the girls. The women were left behind [and sold last].

‘Whatever we did, crying, begging, it made no difference. An Islamic State sheikh took the money. It wasn’t much. A fighter showed us 15,000 Iraqi dinars [$13; £8] and said: ‘This is your price.”

Last December, a pamphlet revealed how IS has given out orders on the proper use of women as slaves.

The extremist group’s Department of Research and Fatwas (religious edicts) issued a document with the chillingly matter-of-fact title: ‘Questions and Answers on Taking Captives and Slaves’.

Posted on a jihadist web forum, and allegedly given out after prayers in Mosul, Iraq, it says Christians, Jews and Yazidi women can all be taken as slaves.

Women can be bought, sold, and given as gifts; they can be disposed of as property if a fighter dies.

A mother's nightmare: Hamshe's mother told the BBC that 'the Yazidi community has been destroyed. This tragedy has done us enough damage for the rest of our lives.'

A mother’s nightmare: Hamshe’s mother told the BBC that ‘the Yazidi community has been destroyed. This tragedy has done us enough damage for the rest of our lives.’

The pamphlet’s Q&A format includes the following:

Question: Is it allowed to have intercourse with a female captive immediately after taking possession of her? Answer: If she is a virgin, her master can have intercourse with her immediately after taking possession. But if she is not, you must make sure she is not pregnant.

Question: Is it allowed to have intercourse with a female slave who has not reached puberty? Answer: You may have intercourse with a female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse. However, if she is not fit for intercourse, it is enough to enjoy her without.

Chilling drive: This is the view towards the Dera Bwn refugee camp in Duhok, northern Iraq 

Chilling drive: This is the view towards the Dera Bwn refugee camp in Duhok, northern Iraq 

IS has even recorded the practice in its official publication, Daqib. It states:

‘After capture, the Yazidi women and children were then divided according to Sharia [Islamic law] amongst the fighters of Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations…

‘Before Satan sows doubt among the weak-minded and weak-hearted, remember that enslaving the kuffa [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly-established aspect of Sharia.’

A spokesman for Amnesty has said: ‘Despite worldwide condemnation, the IS has shown no intention of putting an end to the war crimes and crimes against humanity which its fighters have been committing on a large scale, including against the Iraqi women and girls they have abducted and continue to hold captive.

‘Any party, in Iraq or outside, with any influence over the IS should use that influence to secure the release of these captives.

‘A small proportion of those abducted have managed to escape IS captivity, many after having been subjected to acts of unspeakable brutality.

‘But the survivors interviewed by Amnesty International are not receiving the help and support they desperately need.’

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh of Al-Hasakah Governorate August 11, 2014

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh of Al-Hasakah Governorate August 11, 2014

Forced conversions: Islamic State releases a video purportedly of Iraq's minority Yazidis taking part in a conversion ritual at an unknown location

Forced conversions: Islamic State releases a video purportedly of Iraq’s minority Yazidis taking part in a conversion ritual at an unknown location

 

 

 

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Filipino ‘comfort woman’ still fighting for apology

Fidencia David, 86, wants the Japanese government to apologize for allowing soldiers to use her as a “comfort woman” during the Second World War.

Lola Fidencia David was forced to be a sex slave for Japanese soldiers who invaded the Phillipines during the Second World Ward. Now 86, she is still campaigning for an apology from Japan.

Lola Fidencia David was forced to be a sex slave for Japanese soldiers who invaded the Phillipines during the Second World Ward. Now 86, she is still campaigning for an apology from Japan.

By: 

Fidencia David was 14 when she watched Japanese bombs drop in her Philippine village in 1942 during the Second World War. Soldiers burned down David’s house and used her as a sex slave for 10 days.

She escaped and for years lived in shame and silence. But she has since found her voice. In the ’90s, David became an activist, part of a vocal group of survivors who demanded an official apology and compensation from Japan

Now 86, David was one of more than 200,000 “comfort women” from across Asia. Therapist and author Cristina Rosello translated her answers into English during an interview with the Toronto Star. The text below is paraphrased.

What was it like in the Japanese garrison where you were held?

 David cleaned and prepared food in the Japanese garrison where she was held in the Pangasinan region, which is about five hours north of Manila. On her first night, a soldier gagged her and pushed her head into a wall. She was raped by five to 10 soldiers a night. On a trip back to her village to get supplies, David’s grandmother was raped in front of her and shot dead by soldiers.

How did you go on after escaping?

David married at the age of 20 and had eight children, but it wasn’t a successful union. Her husband squandered the family’s money and David had to scavenge from garbage bins before selling vinegar and charcoal to make money to feed her kids. Rosella says David’s children, who weren’t aware of their mother’s history, were troubled when she became uncommunicative when she was consumed by flashbacks.

What made you break your silence?

David was finally emboldened to tell her tale to her eight children — and the world — after a Korean comfort women finally spoke out in 1990. David was also encouraged by Rosa Henson, the first Filipino woman to come out. David joined a group of survivors, gained strength, support and political will and became part of the Lolas Kampanyera Survivors Organization. After hearing testimony from David and other survivors in 2007, the House of Commons in Ottawa passed a motion to recognize the horrific treatment of the women and to encourage the Japanese government to apologize.

What is most important to you now as a survivor?

A state apology and state compensation. David says many of her colleagues have passed away with no justice after fighting for 22 years. The Japanese government has not acknowledged the atrocities. The Philippine government has also denied support to comfort women survivors because the country receives aid from Japan, says Rosella. “It’s unfinished business,” Rosella says, translating for David. “She will fight up until her deathbed.”

What can people do now?

David is in Canada as part of an educational campaign organized by Winnipeg’sMuseum of Human Rights and Toronto ALPHA, which promotes wartime historical events in Asia.

David spoke to students at two Toronto schools Monday. She’s asking the younger generation to support her as well as join the 100 Million Signatures Campaign to demand the Japanese government apologize. There are now only 26 comfort women still alive in the Philippines.

Fidencia David will be part of a panel discussion Tuesday at U of T from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the William Doo Auditorium and later at a community meeting at the Barbara Frum Library, 20 Covington Rd., from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

South African Children Often Raped for AIDS Cure

South Africa has one of the highest incidences of rape in the world with 144 reports of rape every day.

South Africa children 'raped' for AIDS cure

South Africa children ‘raped’ for AIDS cure

Children are falling prey to rampant rape in South Africa over a long perception that having sexual intercourse with a virgin child cures from AIDS.

“We are very concerned about the current situation in the country where kids are being targeted for the wrong reasons,” Joan Van Niekerk, national director for Child Line South Africa, a non-profit organization that works to protect children from violence, told Anadolu Agency.

She said that many children, some as young as six months, had been raped over the belief that this would cure from HIV/AIDS.

“We are currently sensitizing traditional healers because some of them have been advising their clients to have sexual intercourse with child virgins claiming this would cure them from HIV/AIDS,” she added.

On Tuesday, two girls, aged two and three, were found dead in a cubicle of a community toilet in a township north of Johannesburg.

Police are investigating whether the two children had been raped before being murdered.

The horrifying murders had sparked protests in the township with residents accusing the police of failing to protect them.

“These gruesome incidents of extreme torture and murder of our children do not belong to the society that we are continuously striving to build together,” South African President Jacob Zuma said.

He, however, appealed to South Africans not to take the matters into their hands, and called for cooperation with police to bring perpetrators to justice.

South Africa has one of the highest incidences of rape in the world with 144 reports of rape every day.

Interpol has named South Africa as the “rape capital of the world”, where less than 1 percent of rape cases were reported to police.

According to Interpol, a woman born in South Africa is more likely to be raped than educated.

South Africa has also one of the highest cases of HIV/AIDS infection in Africa.

Family revenge

Activists complain that South African children are also targeted when relationships get sour between partners.

“We are currently conducting a campaign advising people to resolve their relationships without hurting any children,” Van Niekerk told AA.

On Wednesday, two children, aged one and three, were found dead next to their critically injured mother in a field in Katlehong township, east of Johannesburg.

Police believe that the killing is linked to a family dispute.

“It appears as if they were dropped by the husband in an open place and then the husband drove away. They are all Mozambican nationals,” police colonel Katlego Mogale said.

Lwazi Fihlela, director of Child Care South Africa, opines that the HIV/AIDS cure myth has increased the number of child abuse cases in the country.

“Some communities in our country believe in the myth that raping a virgin child cures AIDS, but that’s not the only cause of the high rates of child abuse in South Africa,” Fihlela told AA.

He said that most parents don’t value their children, giving an example where male parents have been convicted for raping their own daughters.

Fihlela said his organization is currently running a campaign aimed at making people to take action if a child complains of abuses.

“We are raising awareness by educating children on different forms of abuse and encouraging them to report such cases,” he said.

He said that the campaign has already begun to bear fruits.

“Many children have come forward and reported their perpetrators to the authorities.”

 

Female Columnist: “Avoid Rape, Don’t Drink”

‘Don’t drink if you don’t want to get raped’: Female advice columnist causes backlash with controversial opinion on how to prevent sexual assault

Emily Yoffe, Slate¿s Dear Prudence advice columnist, proposed an age-old entreaty to women on Wednesday: Don¿t drink if you don¿t want to get raped

Emily Yoffe, Slate’s Dear Prudence advice columnist, proposed an age-old entreaty to women on Wednesday: Don’t drink if you don’t want to get raped.

By OLIVIA FLEMING

Emily Yoffe, Slate’s Dear Prudence advice columnist, proposed an age-old entreaty to women on Wednesday: Don’t drink if you don’t want to get raped.

The 58-year-old journalist, whose own teenager daughter is heading off to college next year, argues that parents, schools, and sexual assault prevention experts can help to bring down the number of rape victims by telling young women to stop drinking alcohol.

But young women, young men and victim services experts strongly disagree. Many have labeled Ms Yoffe’s article as ‘offensive and damaging,’ while others believe that analyzing the actions of the victim, rather than the attacker, sends a message that rape is excusable.

‘A common denominator in these cases is alcohol, often copious amounts, enough to render the young woman incapacitated,’ writes Ms Yoffe. ‘We are failing to let women know that when they render themselves defenseless, terrible things can be done to them.’

The Atlantic Wire’s Alexander Abad-Santos quickly pointed out that there is only one common factor in the rape of college women: rapists.

‘Yoffe’s point doesn’t come from a bad place — she wants to see less women raped. That’s a good intention, which the overwhelming majority of Americans share,’ writes Mr Abad-Santos. ‘[But] it’s like telling people not to drive late at night because they might die at the hands of a drunk driver — these people aren’t breaking the law, yet they’re the ones being targeted and asked to compromise their lives. What about teaching men not to rape?’

Ms Yoffe backs up her column with several studies, one being a 2009 study of campus sexual assault, which found that almost 20 percent of college women will become victims of rape, overwhelmingly by a fellow classmate. The same study states that more than 80 per cent of campus sexual assaults involve alcohol.

But this, according to Thomas MacAulay Millar from Yes Means Yes, Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, focuses on treating the symptom, instead of looking for ways to treat the disease — the repeat rapists and the social constructs that allow them to get away with it.

‘She gives up on catching and punishing them, in favor of telling women that they can’t do something that men take for granted the right to do,’ he writes.

Emma Gray, editor of Huffington Post Women, agrees. ‘Have we lost so much faith in our male population that instead of publishing columns telling young men to stop raping tipsy women — or encouraging the expansion of programs on college campuses that work to educate students about such matters and prevent sexual assault — some of us believe it is most effective to tell women not to drink at all?’ she asks.

‘We need to place the burden of blame for these assaults squarely where it belongs — on the shoulder of those individuals who choose to commit them.’

Young women, men, and victim services experts strongly disagree with Ms Yoffe's article, labeling it as 'offensive and damaging

Young women, men, and victim services experts strongly disagree with Ms Yoffe’s article, labeling it as ‘offensive and damaging

Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan weighed in on the subject, concluding that ‘we’re all pretty tired of the “ladies be getting themselves raped” trope.’ Echoing previous sentiments, she added that Ms Yoffe ‘doesn’t seem to understand that while alcohol plays a role in many sexual assaults, there’s only one element that plays a role in all sexual assaults: a rapist.’

Meanwhile Lori Adelman pointed out at Feministing that Ms Yoffe has, multiple times, used her Dear Prudence column as a platform to scold women who were sexually assaulted after drinking.

Certainly, binge drinking should not been seen as a way for young women to assert independence and liberation, but Ms Yoffe’s argument has been called out for being counteractive to the liberated ideal that a woman should be free to do as she pleases, without suffering ill-effects.

‘This false idea, that women’s behavior is the real reason they are victimized — and that we live in a society that does a poor job of policing such behavior — is regularly used to blame sexual violence on the “problem” of young women today,’ writes Salon’s associate editor, Katie McDonough in an article titled ‘Sorry, Emily Yoffe: Blaming assault on women’s drinking is wrong, dangerous and tired.’

Newsweek’s Katie Baker, who labeled Ms Yoffe’s argument as ‘offensive and damaging to victims,’ also emphasized that ‘our culture is swimming with examples of women — in movies, television and real life — who are “punished” for their “bad choices” with sexual violence.

‘“Bad choices” include wearing a short skirt, staying out too late, getting too drunk, trusting too much. The list of reasons that Americans believe women deserve rape is long.’

It is well known, as Ms Yoffe documents, that heavily intoxicated women are more likely to be sexually assaulted, but some medical advisers who can ‘see where Ms Yoffe is coming from,’ also believe that women who choose to perform consensual sexual acts with men often use alcohol as a psychic lubricant — putting them at a heightened risk of being taken advantage of by predators.

‘If they are true predators they will choose victims who are less likely to be consciously aware of what is happening,’ argues New York-based psychotherapist and life coach, Stuart Schneiderman.

Ms Yoffee cites how researchers Abbey and David Lisak have explored how these men use alcohol, instead of violence, to commit their crimes — offenders who can be ‘campus leaders, charming and well liked — something that comes in handy if they are accused of anything.’

‘They work our mythology against us,’ Peter Lake, the director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law, told Ms Yoffe. ‘We would like to see our daughters hang out with nice boys in navy blue blazers.’

But this argument, like that of many legislators, ultimately tell victims it is their responsibility not to get raped.

Jennifer Marsh, vice president of victim services at the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, said it is ‘ineffective and harmful’ to offer advice that suggests there are specific steps one can take to avoid being sexually assaulted.

Ms Yoffe’s column ‘sends the message that if you don’t drink, you won’t be raped, which is obviously not the case,’ Ms Marsh told Newsweek. ‘Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to prevent sexual assault. [Rape] can take place anywhere, at any time. It’s not just in a fraternity bedroom after a party.’ And it can happen to women who are sober, too.

Even Slate’s own Amanda Hess addressed her colleague’s story, asking that next time she focus on the rapists, not the victims.

‘Rape is a societal problem, not a self-help issue,’ she said. ‘Parents can tell their own daughters not to get drunk, but even if those women follow instructions, it won’t keep other people’s daughters safe. It will just force campus rapists who rely on alcohol to execute their crimes to find other targets.’

Though she agrees with Ms Yoffe that excessive alcohol consumption is a problem on college campuses, Miss Hess believes singling out one gender of drinkers for alcohol education is ‘counter-productive.’

She explained: ‘We can prevent the most rapes on campus by putting our efforts toward finding and punishing those perpetrators, not by warning their huge number of potential victims to skip out on parties.

‘Colleges can start changing those structures by refusing to put the onus on victims to prevent their own assaults and instead holding perpetrators accountable for the crimes they commit—often, while drunk.’

The life coach, Mr Schneiderman, believes encouraging women to drink less is an ‘oversimplification’ of the crime of sexual assault.

‘Why not try to change the culture so that men are encouraged to demonstrate more respect for women?’ he asked.

Kenyan Gang Rapists Punished with Yard Work

PHOTO | TOM OTIENO Policemen inspect a hole from which a girl who was gang-raped was rescued in Busia County on October 9, 2013.

PHOTO | TOM OTIENO Policemen inspect a hole from which a girl who was gang-raped was rescued in Busia County on October 9, 2013.

By NJERI RUGENE

On the morning of June 26 this year, a teenage girl left home to attend the funeral of her grandfather in the Tingolo village of Butula, Busia County.

She was a 16-year-old reservoir of energy, the wind on her sails so strong that she knew it would be just a matter of time before she left her restive village and headed to the big city to pursue a career in the corporate world.

Even at that young age, she knew what she wanted to be. And no, it was not a doctor, or a lawyer, or a pilot as they always dream, but a CEO. Of which company she was not sure, but she had these constant images of herself sitting on the far end of a boardroom, her lieutenants on each side of a huge table as they discussed the strategic interests of the firm she headed.

But on this day something heavy weighed her down.

She had lost a dear grandfather, and today they would bury him. As happens in any village when an old man passes on, Tingolo had gathered to bid farewell to its patriarch.

The girl sat in silence, watching as the village performed the last rites on the fallen man.

It was more of a celebration of a life well lived than a mournful event, and in her mind she hoped she would live a life as industrious and long as that of this great man of Tingolo.

The ceremony over, she bid her folks goodbye and headed home, as jolly and sociable as ever. Sadly, she never got to rest. Six men attacked her on the way, beat her up and gang-raped her for hours.

And then, in the cover of the night, and the girl already unconscious, the attackers decided to conceal their heinous act by dumping her where no one, they hoped, would ever find her: deep inside a 20-foot pit latrine.

The girl, whom we shall only call Liz as we cannot reveal her identity for ethical reasons, spent the night inside the latrine, severely injured and traumatised. Luckily, she survived, and two weeks ago we traced her to Eldoret.

WHEELCHAIR BOUND

To say what is happening to Liz is sad would be a gross understatement.

Months after the incident, the happy-go-lucky girl who hoped to one day become the CEO of a leading company is now confined to a wheelchair.

Doctors say she might have broken her spinal cord either during the rape ordeal or after she was thrown in the pit latrine. And, as if that is not tragic enough, the Standard Seven pupil has developed obstetric fistula, a condition that leaves a woman with a leaking bladder and, in extreme conditions such as hers, leakage of stool as well.

On the day we met her at the Gynocare Fistula Centre in Eldoret, she struggled to put on a brave face, punctuated every now and then by an on-off smile.

The plasticity of that grin, however, was not hard to notice because, let’s face it, this is a girl who is going through a nightmare so horrific it chills the bones to even imagine.

“She has changed dramatically,” her 37-year-old mother muses, as if to herself, the pain her daughter is going through evidently taking a toll on her as well. The ordeal has left the girl an emotional wreck, her innocence and dreams shattered by people that, she says, are well known to her.

And, to add insult to injury, it appears that no one, not even the police who are supposed to aid her judicial quest, is willing to help her carry this load.

The attackers have been left free to roam her village, to taunt her even. Liz, therefore, only has her mother to clutch onto. And that, in these circumstances, is a pain too hard to stomach.

“My wish is to see justice done,” she sobs. “I want my attackers arrested and punished.”

BRUTAL ATTACK

This is how her life took this sad turn: She had spent hours serving visitors who had attended her grandfather’s funeral and, at the end of the long day, decided to walk the distance of about two kilometres to her home and sleep the fatigue away.

The assailants attacked her half-way home. Terrified and alone in the dark, she screamed for help but none came.

The young men first beat her up to shut her up then took turns raping her. Before she lost consciousness, however, Liz recognised three of the attackers, and two weeks ago she insisted she knew them not only by their names, but also their homes.

Neighbours who had heard her cries of help — and who, for some reason, did not come to her rescue at the time of the attack — gathered before dawn and mounted a search, which eventually ended at the pit latrine.

When she came to, she explained what had happened to her and named three of the attackers she recognised, then she was rushed to hospital.

Ms Linner Too, a counsellor at the fistula centre in Eldoret, says the girl arrived at the hospital just as she was beginning to relapse into a pyschological and emotional abyss.

“She was traumatised beyond words,” says Ms Too. “She sounded very bitter and refused to talk to anyone. After a lot of counseling, we are glad she is improving.’’

The weeks that preceded her arrival at Gynocare Fistula Centre were a nightmare for Liz and her family. Everybody who should have cared — from local medics to the police and parents of some of the assailants — appeared to have conspired against her.

LET THEM CUT GRASS

When she was rescued, for instance, she was taken to the Tingolo Administration Police Camp to record a statement.

As luck would have it, villagers frog-marched the three suspects she had identified while she was still at the camp. But her relief at the arrest of the three quickly turned out to be a disappointment.

“The three, for some strange reason, were only ordered to cut grass around the police camp and set free shortly after,” says Liz’s mother. “In the meantime, the police told me to take the girl home so that she could take a shower before taking her to hospital.”

At Musibiriri Dispensary, with one of the culprit’s mother in tow, the medic on duty could only prescribe painkillers for Liz. Then mother and daughter went back home to nurse their respective pains.

And now, satisfied that their crime would be swept under the carpet, all the attackers have returned to roam the village. As if their presence is not harrowing enough, some of them and their parents continue to harass and intimidate Liz and her family, says her mother.

“They often call purporting to find out how she is faring. They promise to give us something small for medical expenses and then go under until the next call,” she says, singling out one instance where the father of one of the suspects humiliated her husband when he went to the man’s home to collect some money he had been promised to help take Liz to hospital.

“He angrily sent him off shouting that the crime was committed by a group, not just his son,’’ she says.

SPECIALISED ATTENTION

As all this happened, Liz’s condition deteriorated and, after a few days, she could neither stand nor walk. The mother sold what she says were her most valuable possessions — four chicken — so she could seek specialised treatment.

But four chicken cannot help cure obstetric fistula and spinal damage, so the family leased out their farm for four years to off-set part of the medical bill.

At the Butere Hospital, where Liz was first admitted for a week, doctors did not detect anything amiss with the girl and only prescribed physiotherapy.

But that did not help and, eventually, she was referred to the provincial hospital in Kakamega, where keener medics discovered she had developed obstetric fistula.

Touched by the girl’s plight, an official of the Mumias Muslim Community Project took her to the Gynocare Fistula Centre in Eldoret, where she has since been getting specialised attention.

“This is one of the saddest cases I have ever dealt with,’’ says Dr Florentius Koech, a consultant neurosurgeon and lecturer at the Moi University School of Medicine.

“You look at her and see the worst kind of despair. She has a serious spinal injury, she is leaking urine and stool because she has also developed fistula, and the family is too poor to afford the spinal surgery and other necessary and related medical investigations.’’

Dr Koech says that while he and the centre are ready to give her free service for most of the basic investigations such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which costs a minimum of Sh15,000, Liz is likely to be discharged without her spinal injury being treated if the parents do not raise the fees for it.

It gets worse: Dr Hillary Mabeya, one of the country’s only eight fistula surgeons, says corrective surgery for fistula cannot be repaired before the spinal injury is fixed “because of pressure on the spine”.

EXPENSIVE TESTS

“I am in a dilemma in terms of how to start management of her condition,” he says. “She will need to undergo very expensive tests to be able to tell which parts have been damaged. She most likely will need double surgery to repair the effects and injuries on the spine.’’

Luckily for now, Dr Mabeya, who also heads the Reproductive Health Unit at Moi Referral Hospital, Eldoret, is a bit reluctant to let Liz go untreated. “We are still keeping her here in the hope that help will somehow come to enable the spinal surgery.”

But the two doctors and the management of the hospital are an unhappy lot and find it curious that the tormentors and attackers of the 16-year-old girl are yet to be arrested, three months since their horrendous crime.

“The question we keep asking here is how a crime like that can go unnoticed by law enforcers,’’ says Dr Koech. “What saddens us most is the fact that the matter was reported to the police, no action was taken and the assailants continue with their normal lives in the village. The girl is devastated.’’

Mr Jared Momanyi, head of programmes at the Centre, is more infuriated. He says he alerted the office of the Busia County Governor when the girl was brought in and are yet to get a response.

“I informed the Governor’s office because they understand the administrative units within the county and would help make a follow-up,’’ says Mr Momanyi. “They have not got back to us since. These attackers need to get arrested and thrown behind bars, where they belong. The girl needs justice.’’

Mr Momanyi says he finds it a mystery that although a report was made at the Tingolo AP Camp, indications are that no statement was taken from the girl. “Are they also not police who know the law? Why did they opt for a kangaroo court?’’ he wonders.

The two doctors and Gynocare, however, are not the only ones shocked by failure to bring to book Liz’s abusers. Busia County MP Florence Mutua expressed her dismay when DN2 called her last week to seek her comment on the matter.

BROKEN PROMISES

“Are you for real?” she asked. “Are you sure this serious crime happened in Busia? How come no one has taken action?’’

Within 10 minutes, she had called Gynocare Fistula Centre, pledged to meet costs of Liz’s initial medical tests, and called the area’s police boss to explain the mystery.

“I am very upset that we have such boys in Butula. The police are now on it and I have made it clear that arrests have to be made,’’ the ODM MP told DN2  from Nairobi. “I am very disturbed.’’

As at last Sunday, however, Liz had not received any of the help promised. Her mother, a fishmonger, thinks they have been denied justice — and continue to be harassed and intimidated by some of the attackers and their parents — simply because they are poor.

“Any time I bump into any of them, I always wish I was a policeman,” she says. “You see, if I was a policeman, I would arrest them.’’

As for Liz, she prays that the devil that has visited her will be dealt with, so that she can return to school, get back to work and keep her dream of becoming a CEO alive.

 

Touched? Send your comments and inspirational messages to Liz at dn2@ke.nationmedia.com. Email the writer at nrugene@ke.nationmedia.com

 

Brockton Man Pleads Guilty to 299 Counts of Child Rape

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Terry Jackson in Brockton District Court last year. Jackson, of Brockton, has pleaded guilty to child rape charges.

By Amy Carboneau
BROCKTON —Every night for a year, Terry Jackson would pull a sheet over his victim’s head and rape her.

Now, 299 charges of rape and sexual assault later, Jackson is going to prison.

The Brockton man pleaded guilty to all 299 charges Monday after his attorney struck a plea deal with the state.

Terry Jackson, 56, of 36 Montello St. Extension, Apt. 1, Brockton, was sentenced Monday by Judge Frank M. Gaziano to 40 to 50 years in state prison.

In graphic detail, prosecutors at Jackson’s arraignment told how Jackson, every night for a year, pulled a sheet over his victim’s head and raped her.

Authorities said he filmed every attack.

The exact number of assaults is not known, Assistant District Attorney Sharon Donatelle said at the time.

“He said it was too many times for him to know for sure … at least once a day, sometimes twice,” Donatelle said.

Of the 299 charges, 271 of them were for aggravated rape of a child, felony charges that carry a lifetime sentence.

Jackson also faced charges of posing or exhibiting a child in the nude, rape of a child with force, indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, assault to rape a child, among others.

Jackson’s trial was scheduled to start Monday, court documents show, but according to Jackson’s attorney, Scott D. Bradley of West Bridgewater, a plea agreement had been in the works for weeks.

For the past 2.5 years, while being held in the Plymouth County House of Correction, Jackson “thoroughly reflected” on what to do, Bradley said.

“And in the end, he chose to sacrifice the rest of his life, rather than put (his victim) through the rigors of an intense trial that would have involved very graphic evidence,” Bradley said.

Police located 16 to 17 time- and date-stamped VHS tapes of the rapes, in addition to 100 or so still photos of the victim in her underwear.

Police said they also found a bag under Jackson’s bed filled with 19 pairs of the victim’s underwear.

Jackson was first arraigned on the charges in April, after the young victim, who was known to him, reported everything to her mother.

The victim was between 11 and 14 at the time of the attacks.

Donatelle said the videos made it so the victim “appeared as if she was a rag doll at his (Jackson’s) disposal.”

Jackson had threatened his victim, saying if she went to police or told her mother, it would break apart the family, Donatelle told the court.

Donatelle also said the attacks began after the victim had a problem with the mattress in her bedroom and she began sleeping in the same bed as Jackson. The girl’s mother, she said, slept in another room due to Jackson’s snoring.

Based on the “volume of evidence,” the plea deal took several weeks to iron out, Bradley added.

He argued first for a sentence of 20 to 30 years, with the commonwealth requesting between 85 and 100 years, he said.

The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office could not be reached for comment Tuesday.