Sunday, December 08, 2013

Still on the issue of rape, incest and violence towards women in Samoa.

While some of us are oohing and aaahing about pageants and rugby over the last few hours, there are bigger problems that do not get enough attention. But reading about the traumatic experiences of young women who have been subjected to rape, incest, violence, hate, fear- particularly this one by Terry Tavita just angered and shocked me. Yet, we know it happens. In our supposedly close knit and loving community.


14-years-old and six-months pregnant
By Terry Tavita 

This week, the Samoa Victim Support Group – in conjunction with UNICEF - launched its 16-day activism programme to rehabilitate young victims of rape, incest, child abuse and neglect. For the first time, a journalist – exclusive to the editor of this publication – was permitted inside the SVSG campus at Tuana’imato and was allowed access to interview some of the young victims of what is becoming a disturbing illness in some sectors of our society.
The Savali is publishing these interviews so our readers can have a first-hand account of the trauma and suffering these victims go through. We also advise our non-Samoan readers that these cases are the exception, and by far, not the norm in peaceful and stable Samoa.
Though all information is factual, as told to us by the victims, we have adopted fictitious names to protect their identities. Some of their stories we warn our readers are quite disturbing.

May,
14-years old,
Savai’i

“It was Sunday, Mother’s Day in May this year.
“My mother, my little brother and I were on our way to church. When we got to the road, I turned back as I wanted use the toilet. So I ran back home. I turned on the light. And as I was sitting there, my stepfather opened the door. He had a knife in his hand. He put the blade of the knife to my forehead and told me to take off my clothes. I refused. He started to strangle me with his other hand while the other one still holding the knife to my head. He then began to rip off my clothes. He then started raping me.
“My mother then came in. She turned on the light and he took off behind the trees. She didn’t say anything. That was the first time.
“The second time was about two weeks later. I was sleeping with my little brother. He is just seven years old. When my step father came to our mosquito net that night, I could smell alcohol in the room. He was obviously drinking. This time, he had a bush knife. He put the knife over my head and pushed my little brother aside. He then began ripping off my clothes and started raping me. My little brother was sobbing with his hand covering his eyes. His face.
The third time, my whole family was there when he came in with a shot gun that night. He began to point the gun at everybody and threatened that he will kill everyone. He then came to me. He put the shotgun to my head. He told me that he will shoot me if I didn’t do what he wanted. He pushed me down. He put the shotgun over my head and began to tear off my clothes. He then began raping me in front of my siblings.
“After. He told me to come with him the next day to the plantation with him.
“In the early hours of that morning, my crippled brother who moves around in wheelchair wheeled all the way to the Police station. It took him five hours.
“The Police came and took my stepfather away. They also brought me here.
“I am now six-months pregnant with my stepfather’s child.
“I am happy at this campus. The food is good and I am being looked after very well by the staff here at Victim Support. They have been very helpful and supportive to me.”

Ed’s note: The stepfather has been tried and convicted by the courts for rape of a minor. He is now serving seven years in prison without a chance of parole.

No comments: