WJO Case Updates - March 2019
We are now representing several victims and witnesses in a high profile case involving sexual violence. We assisted several of the victims with protection measures. We have been investigating the matter, cooperating with the Prosecution unit on protection and confidentiality arrangements. We have catalogued over 100 pieces of evidence which we are now mapping and organizing for the Prosecution Unit.
We took on two cases involving rape of a minor. In both cases, the victim was several months pregnant. We provided legal advice on several issues including the procedure for obtaining a DNA test report from Canada through the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) to prove the fetus's paternity. We also obtained a certificate of "risk"from the MOPH to conduct legal abortion for one of the cases.
In the latter case, the Reproductive Health Department of the Ministry of Public Health referred the victim to us. The victim was 11 years old and she was raped by an unknown person. The victim's mother approached us for support to abort the fetus. She wanted to do it privately. We strongly advised against it. It was not only a crime but abortion at such a late stage, if not carried out by a professional, would cause irreparable damage or death to the child. Instead, we advised that we would obtain a medical expert report to state that carrying the fetus would endanger the life of the victim. We proceeded to obtain the medical expert report from MOPH Management. We received it. However, none of the governmental doctors agreed to abort the fetus, stating it was sinful. Eventually, the Gender Unit of MOPH facilitated the victim to abort the fetus in India.
We took on a case of rape referred by Ministry of Women's Affairs involving a 25-year old girl. Her case was a typical case. She had become acquainted with the offender with the hope of entering into an engagement. They spoke over the telephone for several weeks to get to know each other. One day, the offender invited her to his office to meet her beforehand. He raped her instead. After the incident, she demanded that he marry her. Instead he got rid of his mobile phone number and disappeared. She was desperate, frightened and distraught - as she had now lost her virginity. She stopped attending university. We counselled her and provided legal advice. Unfortunately the offender had escaped. We could not arrange an arrest warrant. She also desperately wanted to return to back to her life. She was an intelligent and educated girl. We spoke to her about the myths on virginity; how survivors enter into a cycle of self-blame and counselled her to recognise her inner power and pick up her life. We still speak to her from time to time to check in with her.