Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sexual Crimes: Life, Death or Conditional Release?

“In the criminal justice system crimes of a sexual nature are considered the most heinous of crimes” and are some of the most severely punished crimes, unfortunately that does not refrain the mounting numbers of child molesters or rapists. It’s actually a recent news braking story that inspired me to write this article that I will try to spread as much as I can to influence as many people as possible because some things are just not acceptable.
This story changed my outlook on many things, the story of Jaycee Dugard, an 11-year-old California girl kidnapped in 1991 by a CONVICTED sex offender, Phillip Craig Garrido who, after a motorcycle accident became a violent drug user, only to rape a 14-year old in 1972 when he was 21, but unfortunately his case didn’t go to trial as the young girl refused to testify. A year later he married his high school sweetheart who tried to run away from him several times as he was abusive and violent, when she finally did manage to escape him he followed her to another state and kidnapped her then raped her under the threat of a weapon in his car. When police arrived to investigate the parked car his wife called for help and Garrido was then charged with and convicted of crimes in both federal and state courts. In a 1976 court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, Garrido was diagnosed as a "sexual deviant and chronic drug abuser." The forensic psychologist wrote that "Garrido’s 'sexual deviation' could have been caused by four years of daily LSD use, along with regular abuse of marijuana, alcohol and cocaine. Garrido also testified in court that he took pleasure in his car by the side of grammar schools and high schools while watching young females. Garrido was convicted on March 9, 1977 and began serving a 50-year federal sentence on June 30, 1977, at a jail in Kansas.
At Leavenworth, Garrido met his new wife who married him in prison. Unfortunately even though Garrido’s crime was despicable on January 22, 1988, he was released from Leavenworth to Nevada State Prison, where he served seven months of a five-years-to-life Nevada sentence. He was of course still on probation and under conditional release, but on June 10 1991 an 11-year old girl; Jaycee was seen taken into a car by a woman, a woman who is now known as Garrido’s wife, then, the whole of California and even America started a “Find Jaycee” campaign but was her parents didn’t know until a few weeks ago is that their daughter was only a few miles away. Garrido then fathered two girls with Jaycee, one when she was 13 in 1993 and another when she was 18 in 1998 and for 18 years, up until the young woman stumbled into a police station at the age of 29 saying she is Jaycee Dugard, the captive endured constant rape and assault.
You are probably wondering why all the details, well I just hope you realize the extent of the damage this man has made, so tell me now had this man served full term, 50 years, he would have been released at the age of 80 unable to rape or harm any girl, therefore isn’t it much better if he would have stayed in his cell? Then here comes some scary facts: Every 6 minutes someone is raped in LEBANON 86% of child abuse is not reported in LEBANON 77% of rapists do not get convicted for lack of testimony, up to 4,315 pregnancies may have resulted from these attacks, and the list goes on. So why are these incredible statistics not challenged or at least published? Why is it that we are so blind to crimes that destroy lives! A couple of years ago when I was still in school I learned of an 8-year old girl literately dropping dead in a school and once her body was autopsied it was clear that she had been subjected to rape for a long time and her body finally crashed. Later that month as I asked about what happened I was shocked to learn that the little girl’s father and uncle were convicted of raping her and that all the evidence incriminated the two men who “took care of the girl” who only spent weekends at her father’s as she was a divorce child. However, as both men had high placed friends and big wallets both escaped time and are now roaming free able to harm other children. What is the most aggravating is that this story made me realize how weak our system is, as contrary to many countries we do not have a warning system, no indication of where a sex offender might me, as many could be living in our very neighborhood, how is that in any way ok? We do not see the danger and yet it’s here and it’s more dangerous as we ignore it. Of course many cases in the US are unsolved but at least effort is being made towards that goal, psychiatrists put at the service of victims, in Lebanon no effort is made, and believe me until a minister’s daughter gets raped, nothing will change, even then the odds of an effort being made is futile as women In Lebanon are blamed for “enticing” the man into raping them and their family will try to cover up to safeguard the girl’s “reputation” and image of “virginity” and “purity”. The statistics I got were from a friend who works in the department of youth in the ministry of justice as no other PUBLISHED statistic is reliable, that is if a statistic is found. Most people know the saying “Forewarned is forearmed “, and I believe that we have a chance if we are informed and if we try to use this information in the productive and try to make a difference, personally I’m taking my case to the “Kids Alive” and it’s not necessary you reach officials but warn you parents, protect you siblings and yourself, don’t become paranoid, but it’s true safety first. Crimes in Lebanon are so protected and kept quiet that you’d think we live in a perfect world, but we don’t. Anyone of us can be raped anyone of our siblings could be molested even though “ignorance is bliss” but where’s bliss in assault? When it happens nothing takes it back, so don’t be victims, be power driven protectors, take self-defense class maybe, and never forget a no is a no, whether it’s your husband or a strange man, rape is rape and we must not be silent nor pacifists.
Ignorance is not bliss it’s misery waiting to happen and even though we go on with our everyday lives awareness in this situation is to me as important as AIDS or cancer awareness. Hence I leave you with my final thought, had Phillip Craig Garrido served life and had all his victims testified against him, would Jaycee be a 29 year old victim, or a 29 year old happy fulfilled human being?

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