Women Not Keen to Report Rape – Police

POLICE have expressed concern over the increasing number of women who report rape but when they are referred for medical check-up, they do not come back to open cases.

Some women, the police further said, report false rape cases and disappear thereafter, because they only want to get medical treatment after engaging in unprotected sex and realising the risks involved.

At least six rape cases were reported over the weekend, police spokesperson Slogan Matheus revealed yesterday, but according to the Woman and Child Protection Unit in Windhoek, by yesterday, only three had returned to open cases against their attackers after being sent for medical examinations.

The Namibian could not establish whether another victim in the Zambezi Region laid any charges.

News of the numerous rape cases comes just a month after The Namibian reported that 11 women were raped over the Easter weekend.

Sergeant Billy Kamusuvise of the Woman and Child Protection Unit at Katutura State Hospital yesterday said seven of the 11 women who reported rape never returned to the police to lay formal charges against the alleged rapists.

The protection unit has recently come under fire for allegedly turning away rape victims unassisted, thereby discouraging women from returning to lay formal charges.

Kamusuvise, however, disputes these allegations, saying the women are to blame as the majority of them come and lodge complaints at the unit under the influence of alcohol after a night out of binge drinking, especially during weekends.

Police spokesperson Edwin Kanguatjivi yesterday also said a person who is under the influence is “mentally incompetent” to give a report.

“A victim who is under the influence of alcohol cannot give an accurate statement as she is not mentally competent,” said Kanguatjivi said.

Kanguatjivi said women who report rape cases are usually referred to a doctor for examination and then asked to return the following day with a G88 form from the doctor in order to file their complaints when they are sober and able to think rationally.

“The majority of them never return the next day and when we follow up on them, they would have changed their minds and no longer want to lay charges,” says Kamusuvise.

Statistics reveal that more than 10 cases of rape are filed at the unit on a weekly basis, but of these, more often than not, five are withdrawn. “We find that victims tend to change their minds about filing cases against their attackers because they feel too ashamed of what their parents or relatives might think” said Kamusuvise.

Kamusuvise also said the shortage of doctors on standby to assist rape victims was a growing concern as the unit makes use of the doctors at the hospital’s maternity ward.

“The doctors usually prioritise patients at the main hospital first, so rape victims have to wait three to four hours before they can see a doctor,” explained Kamusuvise.

A source within the Woman and Child Protection Unit told The Namibian yesterday that police had observed that many women make false rape reports just to get Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).

“PEP is a drug given mostly to rape victims within 72 hours of high-risk exposure, including unprotected sex, needle sharing, or occupational needle injury, to help prevent HIV infection, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. We have noticed that most women who report rape charges do not return [to the police the following day] after accessing the PEP,” the source said.

The source also said in most cases, these women will either be sex workers or young women coming from nightclubs.

Kanguatjivi warned women that such behaviour constitutes a very serious offence.

“If we find out that the woman was not raped but made the claim just to get this drug, they can be charged with perjury, which is lying under oath. Especially when there is a docket opened,” Kanguatjivi said.

A sex worker who said they are being discriminated against by the police when they report rape, conceded that when they get raped they will only go to the police to access the PEP and never return the following day to press charges.

“Because the police tell us we look for it (to be raped). We just go for the drug and never go back afterwards,” the sex worker said.

Kanguatjivi said police should not discriminate against any rape victim and urged those that are mistreated this way to report the police officer involved.

“Every person should be treated equally [before the law] especially a rape victim. People come to the police for protection and not to be abused,” Kanguatjivi said.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Andrew Ndishishi, said medical officials cannot refuse patients the drug.

“When the victimerson is accompanied by the police or has a police statement there is nothing we can do except to examine and diagnose accordingly,” Ndishishi said.

The mother of one of the six rape victims yesterday said she was shocked at what had happened to her 26-year-old daughter.

According to the mother, her daughter was allegedly sexually assaulted after a fight at a bar in Katutura on Friday. A sexual assault case (CR329052014) was opened.

The victim had allegedly gone out with her neighbours, who had invited her to a party in Windhoek North, when an argument erupted between the victim and a friend, who tore off her under garments.

Two men then approached the woman and instead of stopping the fight, one of the men allegedly used his fingers to sexually assault her.

“I do not understand why people who know her would do this to her. They were not strangers, they were her friends,” said the victim’s mother.

Source : The Namibian