An impassioned plea today to the authorities not to allow rapists to get off scotch free.
It was made by a recent victim of attempted rape, who surmised, based on her own horrifying experience, that Barbadian society on the whole was way too soft on perpetrators of such crimes.
Calling it the “worst experience” that any woman could ever be subjected to, the victim, whose story has been confirmed by police, and who Barbados TODAY decided not to identify, suggested that the country needed to “wake up” to the seriousness of her concerns. She has therefore added her voice to calls by women’s rights activists for an official register of sex offenders.
“They [authorities] should have a list of every man that ever raped a woman, every attempted rapist, every child molester, every man that touch a minor under the age of 16. They should have a list, their name, their picture out there. Every time they do it. Once they are charged and the story is right, put them out there, let us know who they are,” she appealed via Barbados TODAY.
She also lamented the slow pace of hearing rape cases, complaining that it was not unusual for three years to go by before such cases were heard by the court.
In the meantime, she said, the accused is usually allowed back on the streets after receiving bail.
“In that time, how many other women is he going to do this to?” she asked.
The woman also called for a review of the sexual offences laws, pointing out that even though in her case the offender had failed at his attempts at sexual penetration, it was offensive for police and other authorities to downplay her allegations of rape.
“How can you tell me that he didn’t rape me? Because there was no penetration? He tried. It just didn’t happen, it couldn’t happen,” she recalled.
She described herself as lucky to the extent that the perpetrator had failed in his attempt at “the physical of him invading my body” but this did not mean that questions did not linger.
“What really happen to these men? How do we as women know about these men? They don’t tell us about them. They go to court normal and then they are back on the street.
“How do we get to know well, he is sitting down on the block there with men drinking, smoking or whatever with him. Do they know that he is a rapist? Do they know that he attempted to rape someone? Do they know that he attempted to rape their sister, their mother, even their daughter?”
The woman had difficulty coming to grips with society’s acceptance of rapists and the liberty and anonymity they enjoyed while victims awaited justice.
Still scarred by the ordeal, she said it had left a mental stain so potent that nothing would get it out.
“He didn’t only try to invade my body, he invaded my mind and that is the worse part of it, because every time I close my eyes, I keep seeing this man.
“His smell, everything about it, I can’t get rid of it,” she stressed in an emotional interview with Barbados TODAY.
The young mother still struggles to combat the shame of being labelled a victim of attempted rape. And while she did not want to be identified, she said she was determined to get justice, not only for herself, but for every woman who has had to face a similar emotional roller coaster.
“This needs to stop. It honestly needs to,” she said.
With her matter now sub judice, the victim declined to go into the horrifying details of the incident.
However, she recalled the sense of panic and confusion after she awoke to a male intruder barging into her room armed with a knife and ordering her to keep quiet, otherwise he would kill her and her children.
“At this point I sit down on my bed because I’m taken aback . . . . Between sleep and wake, I was like, ‘what the hell? Who is you? What is going on?’”
He proceeded to tell her what he had planned to do before attempting to do it.
And with her children asleep in the other rooms, fear turned into virtual paralysis.
“It was fear, but a lot of other emotions mixed up in it,” she told Barbados TODAY.
“What was actually on my mind [was] my [children] are going to wake up and find me dead in this bed, just so! . . . But I didn’t get to tell them bye.
“Before this happened to me, I was one of those women who would say, ‘oh if a man tried this, I would do this and do that, but honestly, when you are in that position, it is something else. When you are in that position all of those things that I said I would do, it was literally a different emotion – one I cannot explain.
“So it is ok for some women to say, ‘oh this would never happen to me, I does got this, but when it actually happens, the mind does react completely different.”
The forced attempt at sexual intercourse proved too difficult not only for the victim, but her attacker, who simply could not manage to get an erection.
That was when the verbal torment truly began from a man she thought she had never met or spoken to.
Then he called her by her nickname and was “talking, talking, saying he loves me, going on and on. . . . At one point, he said, ‘I messaged you and you don’t ever respond to me.’”
This was how she would eventually identify him.