BY DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE Sunday Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
'Jane Doe', 13, was a happy and bright child who was well-focused and excelling at her school work.
But all that changed one Friday evening in November 2011, when she was taken away, raped and left in a bloody mess by a member of a popular gang in St Catherine.
Now, two years later, the perpetrator, known to everyone in the community in which the incident took place and where the child resided, walks the streets a free man, much to the disgust of the family.
"It is really hurtful that from 2011 until now, nothing has come of it," the victim's sister told the Jamaica Observer on condition of anonymity. This, she explained, is because of fear of reprisal by members of the renowned gang.
Since the incident, Doe, whose name has been changed to protect her, has been withdrawn, while her school work has fallen below its usual standard.
But worst of all, the jeers from community members that she wanted it, or that she was in a relationship with the perpetrator, have forced Doe's family to move her out of the community and from the school that she attended.
"People in the community would mock her anytime she walk past, saying is she give it away and is not rape she get. People saying is give she go give it away and the man penis too big and those hurtful stuff. It's like they trying to protect the person," the victim's sibling said in disgust. "So those things got to her and we had to remove her from the community."
However, the accused stills goes about his usual affairs, untouched by the law.
It's a situation that has angered the victim's family.
"The incident happened in November 2011. We reported it to Spanish Town CISOCA (Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offenses and Child Abuse) several times. We even went to the head office and reported it, and nothing at all. All of it is just very frustrating," the child's sister said.
She said that the incident happened one Saturday evening close to seven o'clock when the 13-year-old was on her way back home from a nearby shop where she had gone to purchase food.
It is alleged that the man, said to be in his mid-20s, took her to his house and raped her.
"She went to buy chicken and chips, and so when she did not come home immediately, the family did not panic because they know the process meant waiting awhile," she said. "But after a long time had passed and she still did not come home, someone went to check and saw her walking towards the house," her sister recalled.
"And she never want to talk, you know. She never want to talk. Because he threatened her and told her that if she talk she ago dead," she told the Sunday Observer. "But is the blood trail Mom saw in the house leading to the bathroom. So Mom went in the bathroom and when she go in is like a blood bath. So she (younger sister) break down and start crying. She hasn't stopped crying since. Even when she was at the police station, blood was running out on the seat," the victim's sister said.
She said that the 13-year-old at the time had to wear sanitary napkins until she came out of the hospital three days later.
"But she had to wear panty shield afterwards. And she had to do the sit bath. She had to sit in a bowl of warm water every morning after that until the bleeding had stopped.
It wasn't until January that she was able to go back to school.
A lawyer was hired by the family to investigate what was happening and why things were at a standstill but he, too, got no answers.
When contacted, a woman corporal at the CISOCA office in Spanish Town refused to address the matter but declared that the child's family could not report that nothing has been happening because they know exactly what was taking place.
"The family cannot tell you that," the woman corporal said. "The family knows exactly what is happening so they could never tell you that. I cannot give you any information on the matter. You have to follow protocol. You need to speak to CCN about the matter. I cannot give you any information on the case," she declared sternly.
However, when contacted, an officer at the Constable Communications Network (CCN) said that they would not have that information as personnel the CISOCA office where the matter is being investigated would be best able to answer questions.
A senior person at CISOCA's head office in Kingston said that she would look at the file to see what had transpired, what is left to be done and what the setbacks were in order to be better able to give a statement on the matter.
But the victim's sister said that they had been cooperating with the police from day one and had been the ones pushing for justice.
"The night it happened we went to the police station. Then from there to the hospital. She had to do surgery two times while she was admitted in the hospital. She lost a lot of blood. And the doctor confirmed that she had been raped," the sister said. "She was bleeding a lot. She had excessive bleeding. She had to be given medication. And she couldn't go to school for awhile," she said.
"She is still very traumatised. When she sleeps she has nightmares. Sometimes she will be sitting and just start crying or just silent and not talking to anyone," she stated. "You know like when you troubled? So we have to try to communicate with her so that she does not harbour any (damaging) thoughts."
The young woman said the incident has not only taken a toll on the child but has also torn the family apart.
"She was living with her mom and other siblings in the same community where it took place but now she has to be taken away to live with her father in another parish," she said, explaining that even the change of environment has had its effects on the child.
"I don't know what else to do for justice to be served," she said. "But something must be done. We made reports to the police complaints department and (follow-up calls) made to them on numerous occasions but we were just given the runaround," the frustrated sister said.
"From the get-go I would have wanted them to apprehend the person and deal with it the way it should be dealt with. It's not like they (police) aren't aware. They have the info. They got it. So I would just like to see justice being served. You see, if the person wasn't known, then that would be different. But they are aware, so justice should be served."
She said that the family was even directed downtown to confer with a sketch artist, but was told by someone in that office that this was an unnecessary request since they already knew the person.
"So it's like pure
runaround and nothing happening," she said. "It really hurts because we can't believe that something like this happened to a child and, two years later, nothing has happened."
She said that while there may be repercussions for the family should the accused be arrested and charged, they are willing to take that chance.
"It's a rape. He committed a crime. So the family is willing to go all the way because justice must be served," she said.
But the family is fast losing hope in the Jamaican justice system.
"Sometimes when I watch the news and I see something happen I have to think twice. Because I say maybe something has happened to a family member, nothing has been done so they (family) took justice in their own hands," she said. "My family has felt like that, but I try to explain to them that it's not worth it because it would only land them in jail. But it is painful because this is someone that family members see every day."
She said that from her understanding this is something that the accused has done more than once before and was allegedly beaten by his own gang members.
In fact, she said, a number of young girls have been moving out of that community for reasons unknown.
"It could be as a result of similar things, but people not talking," she said. "I think many people have lost hope in the police and in the justice system itself. Because the police is there to serve and protect and that is not happening."