November 24, 2006


Remember that story in Aruba about six months ago where a school girl was gang raped by her fellow students and nothing was done? No one was punished. The girl had to leave the school. The victim was victimized again. Her family was victimized. All this pain inflicted by a bunch of vile excuses for human beings were freely walking around Aruba. These are probably "junior" pimps. Are they paying their dues? Do the dirty deeds and get in "the club"? Admit it, it doesn't sound very off...this is very plausible.


Sex offenders in the Netherlands are walking the streets unpunished

(Source)--Of the 15,000 rapes, indecent assaults and so-called "lewd incidents" reported each year, just 1,400 convictions are made, the Justice Ministry's research institute said this week.

The public prosecutor handles only 2,700 cases every year, bringing 63 percent of these to court. In 15 percent of these cases, the suspect is acquitted, compared with 4 percent in general crimes.

The gamble is abundantly clear: rape and sexually assault at will - you are likely to escape conviction. And what's more, efforts to combat sex abuse get barely a mention in the Dutch government's agenda, given its fixation on terrorism and Islamic extremism. The abused and vulnerable are left abandoned.

Now it's time the tide changed. But how do we fight back? We must first identify a cause, because rape is at times described as pure violence and power and these elements should not be ignored. Nor should a diverse array of causation factors in child sex abuse be ignored. But to claim that sex is not part of a crime of sexual abuse is naïve and ignores the very nature of the crime itself: sex.

Should we take preventative action then and ban short skirts and pornography? Or remove erotic billboards that can bring on wanton thoughts? One reaction was a call for a return to traditional Christian values; to paraphrase: turn off the light and make sex taboo once again.

Or should we go the other way and re-open the street prostitution zone in Amsterdam, perhaps giving frustrated would-be rapists at least some kind of release.

That's not the answer either.

But sex shouldn't be something hushed up. Let's talk about it, enjoy and explore it and encourage its victims to lodge police reports. There's no shame in being a victim, only society's shame of allowing a victim's silence.

The Netherlands can be proud that the readiness to report sex crimes is slightly higher here than in other countries, which in turn leads to a higher number of recorded offences. But 75 percent of cases involve a victim and perpetrator who know each other. In more than 50 percent of these cases, it involves a family member or partner, and the remaining cases often involve colleagues, teachers or friends.

More startling is that two-thirds of victims are aged 15 or under - and despite the better-than-average Dutch record, only a small number of all victims lodge police reports.

Abuse strikes at the heart of childhood, the trust of a marriage, the responsibility of profession. And yet it is only the stand-out horrors that grab the headlines.

This is a hidden problem. A taboo.

But where do we have a right, more than anywhere else, to feel safe? It is in our home and our trusted relationships. The vulnerable need our protection, both via prevention and punishment. Too often it is up to the prosecutor and police to ensure convictions in court, where it is frequently the word of the victim against those of her attacker.

Consider the 13-year-old girl who informed police she was raped in April, May and October 2004, leading to the arrest last month of 17 youths. She might still have to face the suspects in court, despite alleged confessions from some of the suspects.

17 are among the 200 youths prosecuted on average each year for gang rapes, a figure that could be much lower than the true number of crimes, the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law warned late last year.And countless victims, whether abused by adults or youths, are unable to close the door on dark memories; unable to say: "at least he was jailed." (Only 2 percent of sex suspects are women, while 85 percent of victims are

So how do we protect women? Our children?

In 25 percent of cases the prosecutor takes on, a lack of "valid evidence" forces an acquittal, so we must shift the weight of evidence in favour of the victims. We must eliminate their shame and punish perpetrators without mercy to serve as a deterrent.

But most importantly, all teenage boys must be given disciplined education at school outlining the real facts of sex abuse - that he too is a potential future offender and that there is no excuse for abuse.

Stop a rapist young.

Footnote: That's pretty sad when you have to "educate teenage boys" not to be rapists. That phrase just boggles my mind.


Anonymous said...

What is wrong with the Dutch ? What I am reading here seems to be a symptom of some greater underlying problem.

Anonymous said...

I think we need to develope an anti-rape program in the US too. The Netherlands is not the only country with out of contol rapists and gang rapists. We seem to have only started to punish rapists more harshly here with in the last 5 years. We need more woman judges and legislators.


Anonymous said...

I agree Annette. We do need more women judges and legislators.

Anonymous said...

I say we just castrate them all and be done with it.