Rape, incest and rise of vile crimes

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 20 June 2018, 12:00AM

We live in an increasingly sick society. Not just physically but morally too. All you have to do is read some of the stories that have been published in the recent past to know that something is terribly amiss somewhere.

It has everything to do with the rising number of rape, incest and vile crimes committed against innocent young girls – and sometimes boys. 

Just looking at the number of cases that have been coming from the Court lately, you really have to ask the question, what has become of morality in Samoa today? 

In yesterday’s Samoa Observer, a story was published about a man convicted of raping his niece. Pulemau Sione will spend the next 16 years in jail after Supreme Court Justice, Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala, sentenced him.

Sione is apparently the eldest brother of the victim’s mother. The rape incident happened when Sione became drunk while the victim’s mother had gone to bingo.

 “He blocked her mouth with his hand, told her not to tell anyone and proceeded to force himself onto her and forcibly had sex with her despite her protestations,” the Court was told. “Once done, he said to her not to say anything to anyone in their family, he would kill her, he would shoot her and chase her and her mother from his family. When the accused left the room, the victim then called her mother and sister numerous times but no one answered. She then messaged her intended adoptive mother in New Zealand who called the Police in Samoa.” 

The accused by the way is 68 years old. He was in Samoa visiting family when this offending occurred. According to the Court, his sister, who is the mother of the victim, remains supportive of him. Even a Church Minister wrote in support of him.

What on earth is going on here? It is bad enough that this poor girl was raped and then you have people in authority writing in to support the rapist? What kind of country do we live in? Do we enjoy supporting criminals and wrongdoing? What about these young girls whose lives are destroyed by such offending? Don’t we care?

Justice Tafaoimalo made some very valid comments in her sentencing remarks.

“It is also aggravating that the accused is related to the victim, being her uncle, her mother’s eldest brother and the sa’o of their family. The whole family at Levi Saleimoa were dependent on the accused for money, cars and shelter,” she said.

 “He held a special position of authority and trust in relation to all family members, which he abused when he raped the victim. This position of authority, respect and trust held by the accused also makes the victim particularly vulnerable as she and her whole family were at that time financially dependent on and obedient to the accused. 

 “He threatened to kill her, shoot her and remove her family from their home in Levi Saleimoa. Threats to kill are acts of threatened violence.” 

Justice Tafaoimalo also pointed out the need to hold the accused accountable for the harm done to the victim, to promote in him a sense of responsibility for, and an acknowledgment of that harm, and to provide for the interests of the victim who was young, vulnerable and defenseless at the time.

“There is also an overriding need to deter the accused and others from committing the same or similar offences and to protect the community from the accused. 

“This protection is particularly important for young persons. It is of major concern to the Court that this offending occurred within the sanctuary of a home, committed by a family member on whom this young victim was dependent. 

“This rape occurred in a place where this young person should be protected and feel protected, her own home. 

“This type of sexual offending on young persons, whether it occurs within a family or outside of the family, will not be tolerated by the Court and the Court will impose stern penalties on those who commit this type of offending.”

We couldn’t agree more with Justice Tafaoimalo. The sad reality is that this is just one of so many similar cases surfacing in Samoa.

What are we doing to stop such repulsive incidents involving immorality of the worst form and violation of basic human rights for these girls?

Let us be reminded today that Samoa has just become an official Christian state.

Don’t get us wrong. We don’t oppose Samoa becoming a Christian state. The decision is not necessarily a bad thing and when the actions of this country follow our declaration it can be a most wonderful development.

But let’s stop kidding ourselves. Samoa today is a mess if you use these cases as a measuring stick. Truth be told, there are far too many dysfunctional families in this country. In these families, wives are constantly beaten by their abusive husbands and spouses for one reason or another. The same men cheat on their wives as if that’s normal. Some of them go on to rape their flesh and blood.

Don’t you think it is time for us to wake up to the fact our morals and values are slowly and surely deteriorating? Tell us what you think.

Have a productive Thursday Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 20 June 2018, 12:00AM

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