A victim’s story

| 29/08/2013

I was raped just four years ago and by someone I knew. Even though I'm an adult, whatthat person stole from me will never be replaced. For a long time it remained an open wound for me and only very recently I can even speak about it. This man raped me. He may not have physically beaten me or threatened my life or family, it happened once, but I'm thankful that he was at least sentenced to five years.

Now, someone please tell me how our little children are being raped, molested multiple times and these monsters get just a few months! Where is the justice?

I learned to speak out and share what happened when a close family member confided only recently that she was raped by someone she knew and felt ashamed and afraid to report it.

Rape is too common in Cayman and it’s like a secret that some people want to keep hidden. Even worse, it seems to be accepted by too many as just something that happens and should be brushed under the rug. There are many more incidents than what is being reported.

To be violated all over again, through rape kits, examinations, questioning by multiple detectives or officers, prosecutors, testifying with more questioning, all the shame, guilt, regret, hurt, anger that you have to go through — and then they get away with it?

I was an adult and thought I was dealing with it all right, although I wouldn't talk about it to friends or family, not even counseling — just wanting to bury it as best as I could — until I witnessed relationships and friendships crumble around me. I became a different person, someone that I didn't even like, but being in that dark place changed me. I was afraid, depressed and full of anger. Now imagine a child trying to cope with that!

It took a lot to be able to say the word "rape" and today I, another victim, ask: if this was to happen to your son, daughter, brother or sister, how would you feel? Why are these wicked and disgusting people getting away with these crimes as if they stole a soda pop from a store?

Is it really OK to say that someone can destroy a person, not only their life but destroy that person as a individual and get away as if they did nothing, then go ahead living life hiding behind the "law"?

All my life I have heard stories of things happening to children (boys and girls), women and men in Cayman and the problem sexual abuse, child molestation and rape was in our country.

I remember my parents “warning” me of certain individuals in my community or overhearing adults talking about incidents that had happened in the past. But as I grew older, I couldn't understand why all these warnings and stories were only whispered between one another. What about everyone else that didn't know or were new to the area or country, how would they know who these “bad people” were?

I do not support the practice of not naming the perpetrator in the media reports. When such crimes are committed against us and to a family member, we want to protect ourselves or hide because of the shame that we may feel. But the victims did nothing wrong. We want to protect our privacy, especially young people or children, but how are we going to protect the other potential victims out there?

In Cayman the names of these perpetrators are protected, which only increases the risk that this person can re-offend and there will be more victims. It will continue to be a cycle of abuse. No one wants to talk about it. And in addition to that you have sentences that range from a few months to even suspended sentences. Where is the justice for the victims? There is so much wrong with that picture.

I ask all the people we voted into government to LEAD our country, to help protect us, our children, our families and each other — mandatory, harsher sentences for sex offenders and a Sex Offender Registry!

Or … did you all decide to run in our election to warm a seat and collect a salary? It’s your turn to answer and really show the Cayman Islands what everyone of you really think about this disease infecting our country.

I ask everyone to ask at least five others to sign this petition and let's show everyone that this will no longer be accepted and we are not going to make this sore linger anymore.

I beg you! If I could save one person from ever experiencing what I did, I would do anything I could to do just that.

What will YOU do?

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As a rape survivor myself I can understand why there is so much dialogue about naming the perpetrators of rape and other sexual offences, but unless you have gone through the pain that Elizabeth has gone through, no one who is commenting truly knows what it feesl like.  I had to leave my own country and resettle elsewhere just to avoid the stigma, and I am a grown woman. 

    Ihad children of my own and I knew my perpetrator.  Despite the fact that he was known as a rapist, I still got blamed for putting myself in the position to be raped.  The survivor (I am not a victim) continues to be blamed.  As someone who works in the legal fraternity, I can tell you of the trauma that women and children go through every single time that they have to relive the shame of being raped.   Women protect the men in their lives when the men are accused of raping their daughters as he is the main breadwinner.  There are also instances where men are falsely accused of rape because the mother has a hidden agenda. 

    Finally, in our rush to condemn those who perpetrate these wicked acts, think for a minute about the young girl who has to go through life being constantly reminded and pointed at as the girl who was raped by her father/stepfather/mother's boyfriend/uncle etc.  Many young girls who get raped go on to become victims of the worst kind. If they don't get help they become drug addicts and prostitutes and extremely promiscuous.  Imagine then being constantly reminded of John Brown because there is a public registry available. 

    What needs to happen is that there needs to be a stronger deterrent and in this regard the Courts need to step in and stop finding mitigating circumstances in an effort to give softer sentences.  Crimes such as rape take a long time to heal.  My story happened in 1987.  I still have nightmares about it to this day.  It is not easy and we really need to consider this issue more before we make a decision that could destroy so many lives here in the Cayman Islands. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    The names are published on the Courts List, the trial is publicly done and yet thereafter, the perpetrator's name must not be published.  How foolish!  Stop and think for a minute.  Does anyone think that society doesn't know what the perpetrator did and to who?  Word of mouth goes a long way.  The Barefoot man sang a song a long time ago about the gossip in Cayman where a person caught a cold, but when the news reached East End, the person had a rare disease.  It's far better to publish it so that unsuspecting people who who and who are and can protect themselves and their families from becoming victims.

    • Senior says:

      I think she was talking about catron's list to have some special site to publish the names… the question of questons is, what are the legal consequences when someone claim to rehabilitate themselves from a sexual perverse way and makes complaint of being condemned and harassed by members of society because of this same list?  So my answer would be, it will serve him right, he should not have broke the law in the first place… but then again, you can't treat every offender the same way; especially if that offender is young and first timer. Suppose it was your son.

      • Anonymous says:

        A perpetrator being family should not impact your distaste for what he did and you seeking justrice for the victim. If he were my son I would have expected much more for him so of course I want him sent to jail and put on the SOR!

        What is good for one is good for all!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Government needs to get a backbone and stand up to the populist nonsense of activists trying to use "common sense" and emotional pleas to influence criminological policy. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    @Dennis Smith has made a valid point….ALL forms of abuse must be addressed.

    Maybe if more women stood up against physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse that exists in so many private relationships, marriages because this community is so small, women especially are embarrassed to admit the abuse going onbehind closed doors, for various reasons.

    As women we must make a stand and it's too bad we will probably never have a registry of known abusive men, for eg men who have been divorced from more than 2 women for abuse YET other women continue dating them and defending these Dr Jeykl/Mr Hyde men who maintain 'the nice guy' attitude to the public and privately treating women like their possessions. just a thought…



    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you. I learnt something new  EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL ABUSE.

  5. Sinbad says:

    I believe as a society we have different perception on how and what we accept as the norm. Case and point my house is like Fort Knox to protect my family and earthly possessions yet my wife complains that I do too much to prevent something that could potentially happen. Now if my home was invaded or God forbid my wife and daughters were raped by a gang of thugs, how could she sit there and explain to me of all the things I could have done to have prevented it.

    i say that to say this, much people in our society are still naive, think cayman is still safe and cannot phantom how a crime could ever happen to them…….until it happens to them!

    An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. You can't go and take back or change the past and until people like my wife including our judges, politicians, police, prosecutors, etc….make the necessary changesand mind sets, cayman will continue to see more rapes, murders, robberies, etc…..

    my heart goes out to you and I hope somewhere you will be able to find peace and trust again. 

  6. M for Anonymous says:

    I implore you all to read the stories on: http://everydaysexism.com/.

    I hope that it opens up your views on the subject.

  7. m says:

    Elizabeth, I know hurt just like love can blind. A sexual offence registry is cause alot of lawsuits in Cayman. Someone reforms their ways and claims they are being ostracized in society because of such a registry. I know Sandra Catron has good ideas, but trust me, seeing more human rights to be implemented, her idea on this is not a prudent one. Already in Cayman, anyone that is convicted and sentenced for rape or a sexual offence, there name can be found through court records or FOI request. But having a public list of sexual offenders, I am afraid is getting us in muddy waters. I know you are hurt, but you need to see the logic of what I and so many others are saying about this issue. Take care, m  

  8. I understand says:

    I understand that Al Suckoo and Anthony Eden have already filed their motion to increase the minimum sentence to 20 years. While this does not help your caseI hope that it brings some releif to know that others will be protected.


    • Anonymous says:

      They had better know the law on minimum sentences then.

    • Anonymous says:

      While I understand the anger and frustration at the light sentences being handed down, having a MINIMUM sentence of 20 years is obviously untenable and will not pass.  

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am sorry but this woman's story, while very harrowing, gives her no basis to make the criminological assessment that "the names of these perpetrators are protected, which only increases the risk that this person can re-offend and there will be more victims".  While there is a superficial attraction to her point, her only point, there is no basis in fact to support it and in fact the better evidence is that the contrary is true.  That is the danger of involving victims and victims families in debates about criminal policy because the sympathetic appeal of the victim's plight prevents and impedes sensible discourse on the impact of the proposed policy changes. 

  10. Dennis Smith says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and taking an active role in changing the system and ultimately the culture that supports it. You are setting a brave and powerful example. Don’t be afraid to speak out and stand up. You have taken the first step, speaking out. Now for the cause and possibly your pride and self respect, you need to stand up and identify yourself.

    Secrecy and fear is the tool of the abuser, the only way to take it away is to stand up and say: This is I, I was raped, I’m not a faceless victim, look at my face, you know me; I'm your neighbor, your friend, your coworker. And in turn we, the people of Cayman, will support you and applaud you and in turn your personal relations will be stronger. I promise you.

    Ultimately you will have the real revenge because by standing up and standing out you change the status quo. The lack of fear and the threat of exposure, prosecution and incarceration is the most powerful weapon that we have to shut these atrocious activities down. “The only thing that we have to fear is fear itself” – Franklin D. Roosevelt 1932

    I don’t want to change the subject but the abuse monster, like the deadly Hydra of Lerna, has many heads that grow back as soon as they we cut them off. In ancient mythology Hercules cut off the heads, and Iolaus his nephew, sealed each neck with fire to prevent them from growing back. The hydra also had one head that was immortal, which Hercules buried under a rock. He then used the hydra's blood to poison his arrows.

    Spousal abuse is another head of the monster, a real form of physical and mental rape and I believe many, many women in Cayman are beaten and abused routinely by their mates. Many of whom are Caymanian, well connected and know that they can get away with it. It doesn’t take too long before the victim begins to feel responsible for the abuse and never report the crime. She may also lose her financial support and many cases her residency status in Cayman as well. Can you spell “Slave”? By-the-way men can be abused as well, more often physiological than physical but just as real.

    The use of immigration influence to intimidate an abused spouse is one of the most serious offences that enable Caymanian abusers to perpetuate their criminal activities.

    Child abuse is part of this same submissive and abusive culture. Until we deal with all forms of abuse: mental, physical, economic and ultimately psychological the heads of the Hydra will continual to grow back faster than we can cut them off. We need to use the Hydra's blood to poison our arrows. Powerful broad sweeping, complete legislation covering all form of abuse is the only answer; otherwise we will be fighting the same battle over and over again forever. Good luck and keep up the good work.

  11. Solja Crab says:

    I applaud you for writing this. I read this teary eyed and so emotional, I can't even imagine what you have been through. The monster that did this to you will pay for his crimes in more ways than one. You give me hope that if this was ever to happen to me or someone I love that I could also handle this horrible crime and overcome its' battles. Stay strong and beautiful.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I am so sorry that this happened to you. It is disgusting and heatbreaking to see how these people get away with such heinous acts time and time again. During my time in the USA, I lived with a friend who is a pediatrican who herself was molested as a child by one of her uncles.  She has become very active with the child advocacy centers in her area and was often called in as an expert witness for testomony in various molestation and rape cases. One thing that always stuck out to me is that everyone assumes this can't happen to them or is not within their family or circles. Unfortunately, the majority of such acts committed are by a trusted person. The father, uncle, teacher, priest, step-father………….you name it. Very rarely is something like this done by a complete stranger, so I am asking everyone to get a sense of reality and be VERY alert with what is going on in their suroundings.

    As a mother of two young daughters, I can also say that the day something like this should happen to my children, my husband will not leave matters with the legal authority – of this, I am very sure! Some may say this is wrong – I am not sure, but I do know that the legal system has failed the victims (adult or child) too many times for one to have faith that they will serve the justice that is needed.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have a friend that took matters in his own hands when his daughter was molested by his brother in law. He was the one that ended up spending time in prison, not the offender.

      Good luck with that.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It was so brave for her to share her story and I was so touched and so emotional reading it. I am very concerned about the children in this country and the lack to protection and support there is for every child or person hurt this way. I will sign the petition andeveryone parent and person living here in Cayman should too! Things have to not just change but this system needs to be corrected, because it is true, so much wrong with that picture there.

    YES to SO Registry and REAL sentences to these monsters!

  14. Rorschach says:

    The problem with living in such a small community is that everyone knows everybody else's business…people are afraid to stand up and call others out because they are also afraid that someone is going to spill their secrets.  I truly sympathise with you for what you went through and you appear as though, in spite of what transpired, you have dealt with it and come out stronger. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Ms. Sandra Catorn is doing a presentation on the state of child abuse in Cayman at ICCI on September 4, at 7:30 pm. Go and let your voices be heard