Time to speak!
I come from a small town which is considered to be very safe to live. Children go to school alone, people walk around in the late evening or early morning, without being afraid that something bad can happen to them, like being mugged, attacked or else. Thus, when my friend one day told me she has been raped you can imagine how shocked I was. Both of us were at the age of 15. I was even more surprised when she told me who the guy was, because we both knew him and have been hanging around together in groups. I couldn’t convince her to report him to the police because the shame and disgrace that would fall upon her and her family was more important than anything. Very soon afterwards, at one occasion the same guy offered me a ride back home and of course I refused, but if my friend hasn’t warned me who knows what could have happened. I tried to be as supportive and helpful for her as possible, by discussions and walks and trying to put what happened behind.
This is not an isolated case, it is something that happens very often in many places and the young people, especially girls, should be warned on the potential danger and their rights instead of sticking to some conservative traditions, barriers etc. In the past few years, lots of cases of pedophilia in the rural areas in my country were reported which is truly terrible. Some children were abused for years and sworn to silence. Their childhood has been a suffrage instead of enjoyment and entertainment. Things seem to have had small step forward, but there’s a lot to work on this and on the public awareness on human rights in this area. As a member of few NGOs I am trying to make a difference in my community in certain sensitive areas, but I wish the authorities invest more efforts, capacity and instruments.
I can not stop thinking about my friend’s mischief, but even more on the fact that he guy was free to continue causing troubles to others. The only thing I can be grateful and happy for is that she found the courage and trust to tell me and I truly hope that I was of some condolence in those difficult times.