Here is the grim reality, in numbers: Within the last 28 years, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has recorded a total of 4562 cases of sexual assault but not everyone received the justice they deserved.
Shockingly, less than a quarter of these victims got the chance to see their attackers behind bars. Majority of the perpetrator(s) walk free for a number of reasons—some of which include lack of evidence and lengthy trials.
The lowest number of sexual assault cases reported in the last 28 years was in 1990 with a total of 82 while 2015 saw 321 cases throughout the country—the highest amount investigators had to deal with in almost three decades.
These figures were provided by the GPF’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) through the Bureau of Statistics. Figures were provided for the period of 1990 to 2018.
While the amount of convictions was not revealed for this period, a source from the Force’s Sexual Offence and Domestic Violence Unit disclosed that when these cases are reported at the various police stations—by the time it reaches the court for the first or second hearing, less than half of the victims turn up to give evidence.
Further to this, the woman claimed that in most cases, this amount is further slashed at each court proceedings so by the time the case reaches in front of a judge for sentencing, only one percent of all the rape cases reported to the police for that particular year, show up in court.
“It is a sad thing to see because these victims would come to you crying after what they have just went through. Now, you take their statements and follow the SOPS (Standard Operating Procedures) but when the court day reaches, they don’t come or they come a few times and decide not to continue because they don’t want to relive what they have been through,” the source said.
The police source, who has been dealing with human trafficking and sexual offence cases for a number of years, believes that the amount of time it takes to get justice is the main reason why victims do not follow through with their cases.
“As police officers, we do our part but I think the justice system has to undergo some changes and let us deal with these rapists as quickly as possible. We can’t have victims reliving this dreadful experience over and over,” the woman lamented.
She is calling on victims to keep fighting for justice despite the lengthy time it takes to get justice. “Just keep up-to-date with your case because if you allow these monsters to be on the road, they will rape other persons.”
While the road to justice can be long, perpetrators are punished for their crimes. In October, last, Kenrick Hector, a father of five was sentenced to 18 years in prison after he raped an underage girl in 2017.
Please refer to the chart to view the break down of the rape cases reported in the last 28 years.