A 14-year-old Thai girl was allegedly gang-raped systematically by 40 men between May and December 2016. Now, authorities are investigating.
The girl, who's now 15, is from a small village of rubber tappers, fish farmers, and fishing trawlers, CNN reports. She was allegedly gang-raped at night on multiple occasions, all while her parents were working.
At first, she said, an assailant attacked her at her home while her parents were away, but later, she was forced to go to other locations where she was drugged and sexually assaulted by multiple men.
Up to 40 attackers were involved at some point, she added.
The girl's parents make a living by collecting latex from rubber trees. Because of their schedule, the girl was left home alone at night often.
Phang Nga Police official Boonthawee Torraksa told reporters the force is looking into these allegations.
“I will make sure every culprit will have to serve their crime and I will make sure [we] receive justice for both sides," Torraksa said.
The province's deputy governor, Eggarat Leesen, said that some of the assailants may not be from the island. If that's the case, he added, this case could be more difficult to investigate thoroughly.
Calling the community “tight-knit,” Leesen explained that everyone has expressed shock at the allegations ever since they were made public. Unfortunately, the girl and her family had to be relocated following reports of threats and are now under police protection.
It's incredible to think that cases of abuse such as this continue to happen regularly, reminding us that many victims may not be coming out with their complaints publicly out of fear of further harassment, backlash, and violence.
A report from 2014 showed that, unfortunately, 87 rapes happen in Thailand every day, and more than half of the attackers target girls and women who are students. Still, the report added, the number of women who actually report these cases to the authorities remains low.
Unfortunately, that's the reality in many other countries. For women to trust that reporting the case to the authorities is worthwhile, they must first trust that the attackers will be held accountable. In many cases, that's not what happens as victims are targeted again, and assailants remain free.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha