Georgian civil society organizations, including feminist groups, are speaking of systemic failure after a 14-year-old alleged rape victim took her life in the western Adjara region.
The suspected perpetrator, a 23-year-old man, was detained by police only in the wake of the tragic death of the girl, while the Prosecutor’s Office pressed charges against him only later today, for raping the minor twice, as well as causing her suicide, envisaging a prison term from seven to nine years.
Activists, as well as the family lawyer, claimed state institutions, including police, social care agencies, and the prosecutor’s office failed to address the problem timely. The victim’s family alleged police have been aware of the two sexual violence incidents for months. They said forensic results were delayed for two months, while the suspect remained free.
Besides, the deceased’s mother, an emigrant worker who reportedly returned to Georgia after the incident, said her daughter faced further abuse from her uncles. She alleged that the two men physically assaulted her daughter after finding out about the incident, leaving the minor severely injured.
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili spoke of “tragedy,” and condemned the violence, while the Ombudsperson vowed to look into each of the agencies possibly responsible for the delayed and ineffective response to the incident.
Feminist activists announced they will be joining forces to launch a 100-day campaign in memory of the 14-year-old girl, to advocate for systemic reforms in the fight against sexual violence. The activists demand the absence of consent to become central to the definition of rape in the Georgian laws, the creation of a specialized department in the prosecutor’s office to investigate sexual violence, and the increase of the number of social workers and psychologists, among others.