Justice for the 13-year-old girl, who was allegedly raped by her cousin with the facilitation of her brother, is underway as Love News has learnt that police have charged two men, related to the victim. These charges stem from an incident that took place some days ago where the 13-year-old child was asleep and then awoken by her 21-year-old brother and taken into another room where their 26-year-old cousin was. The child was then reportedly raped. The other night the brother attempted to do the same but the father was awoken and had managed to intervene and rescue the child before the second incident occurred. We spoke with the Chief Executive Office in the Ministry of Human Development, Judith Alpuche who told the media that the ministry has now become involved.
“I am aware of the case and I always hesitate to speak on these cases until I have an entire briefing and as you can appreciate we are still gathering information. The Ministry is involved from the standpoint of child protection so there is a two track system when these kinds of things happen where the police manages the criminal aspects. So they are concerned about who has committed what crime; we are concerned with the protection of the child. If it is a situation where the family and those who are charged with the child’s care are they willing and able to protect the child and that is the determination. I fully understand that people are innocent until they’re proven guilty but at face value every violation is a serious violation of a child but this one is so deep in terms of this is family, this is an older brother where you would think that the instinct would be to protect – a cousin, a male cousin. So clearly all these dynamics were not in play but to the contrary and at face value what is surfacing it’s outrageous and very concerning. This is what I’m talking about and continue to talk about in terms of we have to cultivate this culture where this is absolutely unacceptable because it is outrageous.”
Love also spoke with Minister Anthony Boots Martinez, who condemned the incident and spoke in general, saying in incidents like this one, when parents do not seek justice for their child who was wronged, then it is the ministry’s responsibility to intervene and make a claim for the victim.
MINISTER ANTHONY BOOTS MARTINEZ
“The ministry intervention was very important. I haven’t spoken to my CEO yet but I think that it is very important for us as the Ministry to bring the claim on behalf of the child; that is our responsibility and I think that we need to live up to our responsibility. So if the facts remain that there is a report and the parents don’t want to comply then the ministry’s obligation is to get a social worker and file the report against whomever did that to the child.”
We understand that the little girl’s parents have been very cooperative with the authorities in locating the two men who apparently went into hiding. The little girl’s 21-year-old brother was charged with ====== while the 26-year-old cousin was charged with =====. The incident occurred in western Belize.