Friday, 17 August 2012

"If only they would pursue

all alleged rapists as hard as they going after that Assange guy," someone said to me as we were waiting for a meeting yesterday.
I have to agree. The "well he/she must have asked for it" attitude is still alive and well in the minds of too many people. The initial trauma is horrendous enough but reporting it and not being taken seriously makes it far worse. Even if action is finally taken there are more hurdles, prolonged delays, a court case where the victim is made out to be of worse character than the perpetrator and in many cases - after all the trauma - a slap on the wrist for the perpetrator if the victim is finally believed.
I have friends who have a profoundly physically and mentally disabled daughter. She is unable to do anything for herself and requires their full time care. Her communication is limited to looking at the floor (no) or the ceiling (yes)  and smiling (please/thankyou). They have lovingly given truly excellent care to her all her life. She is always beautifully clean and well dressed. As a family they are considered a "model" of care and concern.
They also have a problem.  Two years ago the husband, now in his seventies, became seriously unwell and was in hospital for several weeks. His wife continued to care for their daughter with just a little assistance to get her up in the mornings and put her to bed at night.  At the end of that time she was also exhausted.
They were finally offered some "respite" care so that they could go right away and have the first break they had ever had. They took it  knowing that if they were to go on caring they needed the break. Relatives banded together and gave them air tickets and they had a wonderful month in New Zealand, wonderful that is until they came home.
They found their daughter traumatised. She had been physically abused in care and, far worse, sexually abused. The physical evidence was there in the injuries but their daughter was considered incapable of giving evidence. Those who had been caring for her all denied any knowledge of what had happened. As there were more than twenty different "carers" involved over the month it was considered "impossible" to decide who was responsible. Nothing was done.
Someone did this. There may be even more than one "someone". Others know who did this. The investigation was not rigorous. There were not-so-veiled threats that there would be no chance of further respite or even "day activities" if the parents pursued the matter. As it is the day activities which now allow them to go on caring for her they gave up. They need the sleep they get then to keep going. They worry constantly about what will happen to her when they die.
I find it sickening that the authorities can do so little. Some of those "carers" will still be working in the area and perhaps still abusing those in their care.
I think the Assange case has been badly handled from the start but at least those making the complaint are articulate and others appear unusually determined they will have their day in court. No such determination was apparent for someone who was far more vulnerable. She is not the first and she will not be the last. The authorities need to rethink their attitude towards pursuit of all alleged rapists not just someone who is a political embarrassment.


Donna Hosie said...

Years ago I worked with a woman whose sister had Down's. Exactly the same happened. The police would not bring charges because it was her word against his and - as a person with disabilities - her word counted for little. She had the obvious injuries of a sexual assault but it did not matter.

This was also in the UK.

I am reminded at this time of the murder of Yvonne Fletcher. The police did not raid the Libyan Embassy, even though her killer was in there. Instead everyone was allowed to walk and and return to Libya.

I don't care for Julian Assange, but the over-the-top reaction to his case is obscene.

What have these people got to hide, and why are they so terrified of him, they will cease to follow the cause of natural justice.

the fly in the web said...

In some ways, the veiled threats of no more day care perpetuate the assault...

Anonymous said...

If only, if only, if only... this is just so sad and frightening. It makes me so angry. Bob C-S