Although now it seems like a distant memory for many of us, the case of Hanna Lalango, a young girl that became a victim of sexual violence that took her life, remains to be a huge representation of what young girls and women face at any given point in their life.
The court’s verdict on Hana’s case was announced last week with some of the convicts getting life imprisonment and the others getting 18 to 20 years prison terms. Up on hearing the verdict, there were some people I spoke to, who were disappointed; they were hoping for a capital punishment.
Punishment for different levels of crimes has been around since the existence of mankind, I believe. People are social animals and due to that they tend to live in a group even during earliest known history. The fact that they live in groups means there needs to be some sort of harmonizing factor; rules.
When you have rules and regulations and when you have those that break those rules, there are consequences, punishment. Otherwise humans would not co-exist and there would not be any kind of civilization.
On the other hand, even with rules put in place, crime, in different forms still occurs. The law can be broken; it is broken everyday.
I have written on the topic of sexual violence a number of times; mostly trying to figure out what was the reason behind this particular kind of crime. There are many that say the crime is simply about control issues with a superiority complex.
Most of the people that commit sexual abuse, both verbal and physical, are normal people. I mean normal in a sense they tend to have a good social life; have families and friends and a job. They work hard like everybody else etc…They are sort of a serial killers who lead a very normal life until it is found that they have hacked to death a number of people and buried them in their backyard.
Unfortunately it is a fact that in many societies across the world, rape remains to be something to take lightly. Although there are laws that are put in place that clearly state the action as a criminal office, in many places, the law enforcers resort to ridiculing the victims and further abusing them.
These stories are too common; a young girl goes to the police station and says she was raped and asks for help, but in return, the police officers laugh at her and take turns raping her until nothing remains inside of her that would remind her she is a person worth of good things.
In conflict situations, rape is used to terrorize and make people submit to different political agendas. It is also used as a revenge mechanism on the helpless.
Most don’t understand that sexual abuse especially rape is as good as killing a person. This is because usually the victim loses all sense of hope; they would no longer have self worth and they stop looking at themselves as whole. There are very few that have the extraordinary strength to brush of the assault and move on.
There are many things as a society that we are willing to accept as repulsive and completely unacceptable, sexual abuse is not on that list. This needs to change and it needs to change fast. We need to educate children and youth to have a better moral ground so they do not become abusers. We need to understand in a very profound way that sexual abuse is a very serious crime that needs to be given an unprecedented attention.
Hanna Lalango is one victim among thousands and thousands within our own country. I cannot say if the punishment that was given to the criminals is fair or not because I cannot put myself in her family’s shoes. But I do believe the fact that Hanna’s story and the trail has been publicized, even if the case didn’t get the attention it needed, it is still a step forward to shining a light on a very disturbing situationg