POWA Criticizes Outcome of Rape Case
Tuesday 2nd October, 2018 –POWA, the Professional Organization for Women in Antigua has expressed disappointment at the outcome of a recent High Court case which ended in the accused, a police officer walking free.
The police officer, who was accused of kidnapping a 13 year old girl and having sex with her approximately two years ago, was set free by a High Court Judge on Monday after the victim said she didn’t wish to pursue the matter further and recount the events of what transpired.
The development has sparked outrage in some quarters, including within the all women organization.
In a statement, POWA detailed that “while it is admirable – and perhaps even desirable – that the child find and express forgiveness for the person accused of violating her, POWA cannot support the Court acceding to her request not to go forward with the case.”
“From all reports, the State did not even attempt to offer any independent evidence against the alleged perpetrator. And while the child expressed forgiveness, nowhere is it reported that she recanted her allegations against him,” the statement continues.
POWA calls the Court’s action a “dereliction of duty,” saying that it sends the wrong message to persons who have been sexually violated and are suffering in silence.
“What message does that send to other children and even adults already struggling with the decision to seek justice for offenses committed against them? We fear that the message received is that the Courts do not view their experiences as traumatic, life-altering, or serious enough to investigate and/or prosecute,” the POWA release says.
The organization is calling on the authorities to “ensure that this child receives the counseling and emotional and practical support she will need to recover … so that the rest of her life can be spent in positive and meaningful pursuits.”