I came across this article today.
It makes me angry.
That what those boys did to the girl can be considered “acceptable behavior”, that NOTHING has happened to those disgusting six boys who thought it was within their rights to grope, kick and molest girls. That the school isn’t going to be held accountable for their behavior. That one of the ADULTS working at their school said he wouldn’t help her because “Deep down they like it,” and that all others stood by without doing anything. That people tell this girl she was raped because she was “dressing so and so” or walking alone during lunch hour.
This isn’t anything new, unfortunately. It is, as you might call it, a drop in the proverbial ocean that is our broken society. And I’m sharing because I do believe that, one day, all these drops will finally add up. The glass will overflow and all this shit will stop.
And maybe then, everyone will treat everyone as human beings.
Ok. Article below:
The mother spent months issuing complaints at school and nothing was done. A year after being molested by colleagues, it was needed for another alleged episode to occur in order for three out of the six boys to held in preventive detention.
“I want to leave the age of 14. I want to grow up and forget about all this. Stop being CF, the one who was raped, the one everyone knows because of what happened to her.” The tears fell in hands kept between her legs while she let everything out. It was November and Carolina hasn’t been to school in six months.
“I miss waking up early, I miss having a normal life like everyone else;” she went on in weak voice. With no help to find a new place for her daughter to study, the mother, Maria, was going from door to door: she couldn’t risk putting her daughter in a school where one of her aggressors studied. Carolina got a new rug for her bedroom, but she’d rather keep it in storage so that she can first use it in a new house, with no past. Nothing happened. She was tapped in the Souther Margin. [of the Tagus river]
April 19, 2014. The wish was fulfilled: as of the day before, Carolina was no longer 14. It was Saturday and she’d gone to the mall to buy a top with the money she got for her birthday. She’d go on to a friend’s house, crossing the Center of Laranjeiro when she came across four familiar faces. The mother, through the phone, only had time to hear Carolina’s breathless voice: “Mom, they want to hurt me again.” Carolina didn’t pick up the phone when her mother called back. At that time, her father went out with a friend to look for Carolina.
At the same time, the mother was at home, not knowing whether or not she could call the cops because her daughter had asked her not to. Right then, Carolina was among them. When she came back home, with a bruised coccyx and a wound under her chin like she’d been dragging it across the floor, Carolina couldn’t say anything; for two days, all she did was cry. Only on Monday did she give in to her mother’s insistence and told her that four of the six boys who’d previously beaten and tried to rape her a year prior had done the same again. The family ran to the Estefânia Hospital, in Lisbon, where the PSP [Public Security Police] was called so that a new complaint could be filed. Once more, it was followed by the medical exams, as well as the declarations to be used in front of a judge.
Maria only asks, “What else needs to happen?” The Informatics course she was taking at IEFP is lost: she’s failed due to lack of attendance because she needed to accompany Carolina when her daughter went to the hospital, to child psychiatry appointments, while also trying to find a school that was safe for Carolina. She’s unemployed: even if she did find a job, she could hardly work now, as her daughter can’t be alone. The time when Carolina’s father, a music producer, was able to make money in that area is also long gone. They live with Social Security money [Rendimento Social de Inserção, RSI]. Maria has sent letters begging for a new place, a new city, far away from the supposed aggressors, but even though she’s explained that there’s a federal crime investigation going on, that it’s an urgent case, that her daughter’s been the victim of sexual and physical violence and would remain the victim of insults and threats, she’s been on the waiting list for a year.
Only now is the National Commision of Child Protection and Endangered Teens [Comissão Nacional de Protecção para Crianças e Jovens em Risco] offering to send a letter to the Institute of Housing and Rehabilitation [Instituto da Habitação e da Reabilitação], letting them know the state of Carolina’s psychological wellbeing.
A month has passed since that last episode, and Carolina has spent it locked at home, curled up in bed and under pills that should be for adults. When times were worse, there were seven of those pills: enough for her to fall asleep during class, while she could still go. She almost doesn’t eat. She can only sleep if she’s hugging her mother. She only goes out with her parents. She’s without a cellphone and Facebook. She doesn’t go out for lunch with her friends, doesn’t go to the movies. She doesn’t wear short shorts or skirts, doesn’t show her stomach. “If I do wear those things, then for sure the people will calle me a Ho.” [“Pê”, or P, first letter of Puta, which means Whore] The few times she talks, she lets out confessions like, “They hate me so much that one of these days, they’re going to shoot me in the middle of the street and no one will know who did it and where I am.” Sometimes, she says she regrets coming forward with what happened. What was it for, if she’s the only one who has to hide?
Within six months, Carolina sat down in court twice and told the judge what was done to her, how it happened, where it happened and why. At her side was her lawyer, João Medeiros, who represents the family pro bono. On the other side was the Public Ministry. [State Attorneys] At 14 and 15 years old, Carolina was forced to tell strangers how she was molested, thrown to the ground and kicked. How they groped her, and from where to where in her body.
Carolina is too small for the weight of the courtroom in the Family and Underage Children’s Tribunal [Tribunal de Família e Menores] in Almada. That’s where, under a mantle of timidity, she has to remember everything as it happened that very first time, on April 19, 2013. She’ll have to remember how, a day after she turned 14, she left class befoe the bell rang and bumped into one of them. How that boy, N, who was transferred to another school due to bad behavior, whistled to call the other five boys. How afterwards, one of them, J, grabbed her arm and slapped her head while the six of them dragged her into the nearby woods. How, after they’d all groped her, N told the others to leave the two of them alone. “He was out of control. It seemed as though someone else was inside him,” Carolina remembers, eyes lowered and hidden behind her curly hair.
Yet, not everything that had transpired in those two hours had been told. It was needed to remind everyone of how that moment lasted. N had his jeans down while the others passed the time by listening to funk music with a “Lek Lek” Carolina won’t forget. And that, in the end, when the group was reunited, Carolina was hit countless times more in the head and kicked in the ribs.
That day, the mother found Carolina’s delay from lunch odd, so she went to school. No one knew about her daughter’s whereabouts. The father and a friend ran to their car and searched all of Laranjeiro and Miratejo, but found no sign of Carolina. When Maria called her daughter back, she heard a PSP agent asking her to go to the station. Maria only remembers saying, “Tell me it wasn’t them.” Upon arriving the station, the parents found that Carolina was completely torn up: her ribs hurt, her breasts were black, the wrists bruised. “It looked as if she’d slept on the street,” Maria remembers. “I can remember everything like it was yesterday.”
Carolina had walked to the Police station by herself. At first, she’d stumbled and cried in the woods. Afterwards, focusing on their last words – “Let’s go to the other girl” – with no credit on her cellphone and scared they’d do the same to her friends, she started walking until she stopped at the police. That same day, she’s sent from Garcia da Horta, in Almada, [Hospital] to Santa Maria, in Lisbon [Hospital]. Only at midnight is she subjected to the test that proves no penetration occurred. The first time in which the other students who’d also felt surrounded by those boys found Carolina, they hugged her and told her “thank you”.
Only now, in a Friday in May, more than a year after the investigation for the first attempt at rape was filed, has the mother been called to the witness stand. Only now, after Carolina has suffered another episode of physical and sexual violence, three of the alleged aggressors – the only ones above 16 and who have penal responsibilities – will be held in preventive detention as per the judge’s ruling. The other three, still minors, are being submitted to an educative inquiry, but there are no news of any internment in an educative center. [such as Juvenile Hall]. Only now, after that second time, has the PSP’s division of victim support, looked for Carolina. Only now has a social security asked the mother for the paperwork required to find a new house.
The Corroios school, where Carolina and the six boys [at the time of the first incidents, the boys were aged between 14-16] were enrolled in, has opened a disciplinary inquiry after the news of the first rape attempt. Without telling the Judiciary Police and the Public Ministry, Carolina was forced to remember every detail in front of the school principal and other two teachers. The aggressors were also called twice to tell the story, because their versions didn’t match. For this motive, the police criticized the school for giving the boys a chance to get their stories right.
At that time, while Carolina kept trying to study, everyone was either insulting her, or murmuring in the hallways. “That’s her.” In the end, the school’s investigation ended with the boys being suspended for ten days. On May 20th, they returned and Carolina, unable to resist the shame and fear, was advised by a doctor to stop going to school. No one could guarantee her safety. But no one, aside from her mother, remembered to find another place for her to study in. Officially, Carolina was condemned to continue next to N, J, R, L, D and F.
On October 2013, after Carolina first testified in front of a judge, the family lawyer understood that the school had to take responsibility for the April episode. He filed a complaint towards denial in helping the girl. The mother spent found months running to the school, worried about her daughter’s isolation symptoms and tales of the bullying Carolina was being subjected to.
To the mother’s concerns were answered by the principal, who asked for patience. Soon Carolina will have a new class director [the teacher responsible for the class] and everything would chance. On January 28 2013, the boys tear apart Carolina’s shorts, thighs and new sneakers with an x-acto knife. The mother filed a complaint to the principal, who told her she’d called the boy’s parents. Nothing happened.
At home, Carolina displayed more and more symptoms of depression. Her grades plummeted, her handwriting was sloppy. She was nervous, didn’t want to eat, woke up with nightmares and kept throwing up. One day, she asked her mother “why the world was so cruel”, the next she’d say “I wish I could go to sleep and wake up an adult.” From time to time, she’d confess there was a group of boys who insisted in groping her friends while keeping from her mother that they were doing the same to her. The mother asked her to defriend them on Facebook and advised Carolina to stay away. Back then, Carolina already had too many unaccounted absences at school. Every time, it was getting harder to see signs of the active teenager who’d go to castings, fashion shows, who dubbed movies and who was in Barbie magazines, who practiced rhythmic gymnastics and hip-hop and wrote lyrics to songs. Carolina gave up on everything.
Only at the very end of the first semester, during a PTA meeting, was Maria made aware that her daughter was almost flunking due to absences. Also only in that day did she find out through a teacher that, inside the school’s walls and under the awareness of teachers and janitors, Carolina was often surrounded and pushed against the wall by the colleagues who’d, days later, drag her into the woods. “Why did no one call me?” asked the mother. Silence: no one knew what to say. In one of those many times she as surrounded, a school worker even said that he wouldn’t intervene because “deep down, they like it.”
The day they found that Carolina hid cuts on her neck made in self-harm with a scarf, her parents started crying, scared, running to school to demand measures to be taken so the pursuits would end. “I was there every day. The school workers can confirm that,” Maria remembers. Only on the 15th of April, after the second semester had already started, did the class director sent a proposal to the mother – a proposal that was dated December. The counselor who was accompanying Carolina had sent it in November 2012, a letter to the school asking for notes on Carolina’s behavior. She never got an answer.
When the aggressors returned, Carolina stopped going to school, but in order not to flunk again, the mother asked for the teachers to send Carolina her homework. The Math teacher, who was the class direction, as well as the PE teacher, never have Carolina any feedback so she could imprive. Even though she’d spent the year back and forth from the hospital and heavily medicated, Carolina ends the school year with Fs in Math, History and PE. Locked at home for months, she’s more apathetic every day. She was close to repeating the 6th grade for the fourth time.
The mother understands that there are enough motives for Carolina’s exams to be reevaluated and filed for a reappraising of the grades. On October 19, she asked the Regional Education’s office when the new results will be made available. She was told the results had been sent to the school six days ago: neither had the results been posted, but no one had called her. Carolina had made it: she was going on to the 7th grade.
The negligence in the accompaniment of Carolina’s academic life also motivated a complaint to the Education and Science General Inspection [Inspecção-Geral da Educação e Ciência (IGEC)]. A process was ioebed: after “analyzing the facts and the school’s side of the story”, IGEC concluded that there were no grounds for a disciplinary hearing.
When Carolina went to the Police Station on April 19 2013 and filed a complaint against her six colleagues, little did she know the nightmare was only beginning. Running away from school, isolation, wasn’t enough for the people to forget. If she remained locked up at home, she’d received Facebook messages like, calling her a “snitch” and that she “like to take it in her c—“
If she left home to go to the supermarket with her mother, other women would ask her flat-out, “Are you the raped one? Did they really rape you? Please, tell me.” The worst moment, says the mother, was when, in a roundabout on the way back, a girl yelled, “You raped girl, walking alone is the same as being raped.” Carolina started crying. Maria, seething on the inside, felt helpless. She wanted to throw stones at the other girl, but if she did that, she, who’d always taught her daughter violence was never the answer… what example would she be setting.
The family thought time would heal the wounds. That the people would fornget and that Carolina’s remembrance of that afternoon would become more imprecise, that she still had time to rescue her freedom. They were wrong. Now, even the mother’s being threatened by the boys. “If I put myself out my body and heard one of these stories, I’d say it had to be a movie, a lie,” Maria lets out, on the phone and crying, days after the new attack. No one in that house feels safe. No one feels safe when they’re outside. Carolina keeps saying, “Live? What for? I go out and people hurt me.” In court, she sits on the victim’s side, but she cannot help but feel guilty.