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Police Disrespect of Women on Claims of Rape

Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017. 6:27 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: The United Women’s Group (UWG), the women’s arm of the People’s United Party (PUP), today issued a statement expressing their discontent with the handling of reports of women allegedly raped by 3 police officers.

“It has been over a week since 2 women alleged that while in police custody at the Independence Police Station, they were raped by 3 police officers.  Gang rape is a serious allegation yet the officers accused remain on active duty. ACP Joseph Myvette, Head of the National Criminal Investigation Branch, stated on news yesterday that the “investigation or examination proved that the women were carnally known…and this is one of those investigations that have led us in different directions, or should I say there are certain inconsistencies which we need to clarify in regards to the investigation.” This is a strong suggestion that it was not rape, something that the police are not in a position to say,” the statement explains.

The UWG condemns in the strongest possible terms the irresponsible and unprofessional manner in which this allegation of gang rape by police authorities is being handled.

The group says that to have the officers still on active duty while the investigation is ongoing is disrespectful to all women in Belize and is a “slap in the face” to this week’s launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.

“At the very minimum, officers involved in any allegation of crime should be placed on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing. No less is done for other crimes where police officers are alleged to be involved in.”

The United Women’s Group also condemns strongly the remarks by ACP Alejandro Cowo regarding the murder of a woman in Ladyville whereby he stated that the murder victim “is a very friendly person and that she was out with the villagers, socializing with them”. “For any police authority to suggest that a woman’s social behavior can contribute to violence against her is completely unacceptable and should be decried by all.”

The UWG says that to date there is no response or comment by the National Women’ Commission or the Special Envoy for Women on these outrageous remarks and handling by our police authorities on crimes against women.

“Violence against women will not be taken seriously if our police authorities are not held to account for their public statements which can validate the misogyny and disrespect that women endure and does nothing to stem violence against women,” the statement ends.

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