A member of a “sex gang” in the constituency of South Central Windward “lured” a 14-year-old girl to a house in the district last Wednesday and five young men raped her, the girl’s father has told iWitness News.
The incident occurred around noon.
“She was lured. She was invited out by a guy, not knowing it was a house filled with guys,” the father told iWitness News, adding that his daughter knows the guy well and has been able to identify all of the men who violated her.
He said the alleged rapists are ages 15 to 21 and three or four of them are students.
“She was actually invited to chill. One of them was her friend,” the father said.
“As a father, I am trying to help her; trying not to be too hard on her; trying to get her to bounce back. It is a really traumatic time for her. Not to condemn her in any way because I understand the pain she is going through.”
The matter has been reported to the police, who have launched an investigation.
“I am hoping that there will be justice and that is not the end of the rope for her. The family, the church, too, they are reaching out to her.”
But the father also told iWitness News that this is not the first time that young women in the district have been gang-raped, allegedly by the same assailants.
“… this is too common in the village. This thing has been happening for a while now. I know at least three or more incidents like this happening,” he said, adding that some of the incidents involve the same people who his daughter said raped her.
“And, in many cases, it is just swept under the mat. Even legally, sometimes nothing happens. I don’t know if parents are afraid because of the stigma. Sometimes they may be afraid to go far with it and sometimes the law seems so slow when it comes to these things. In the end, the shame and so on that is associated with this kind of thing, it kind of stalls the progress you would like to see.”
But the father said he is committed to seeing that the men face justice for raping his daughter.
“It is really wrong to lure somebody thinking it is gonna be you alone and when time comes, you meet a whole heap of them. In this case, my daughter is only 14 and if the law has any protection for her, I intend to use the long arm of the law to get justice,” he said.
He described the young me as a gang, “not in terms of a violent crime gang that goes around with people fighting and that kind of thing.
“It is more like sex gang; a group of friends. A lot of them sleep in the same area, in the same house…” he said, adding that they know what to say to young girls who might be vulnerable.
In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a girl under the age of 15 cannot legally give consent to sex, and when such “consent” is given, it is classified as statutory rape, which is also a crime.
“It was more than one of them and when I listen to the description of what happened, some of them sound like outright rape. That is the one that really aggravates me when I listen to the details,” the father said.
“Somebody needs to be an advocate to deal with this in St. Vincent, especially in some of the rural villages and not only in the rural villages. I see a lot of schoolgirls getting pregnant, a lot of them are underage and it is shattering their lives and I see no real justice coming out for them.
“They are accepting it as if it is part of the norm. But it is not the norm. It is wrong to use people who are legally underage and we, as a society, should cry out against this kind of thing and try to change.”
The father had some advice for young girls.
“The first thing, I think that young girls should keep their heads on. That’s number one. Apart from that, I think it is wrong to violate young people like that, especially those who cannot give consent. Those guys out there are so influential in what they say to them. They are young people, they are not adults; they can be influenced easily. But, at the same time, they need to trust their parents and use their heads and keep away from these kinds of people.”
The father said that the alleged rapists were arrested but he has since seen some of them in the community but has heard that they have to return to court.