A teenage schoolgirl was allegedly gang-raped in Tobago. The victim was further traumatised earlier this month by a school official, whose reaction has appalled social workers.
The rape took place in October, during a football match, and the suspects are four men and a schoolboy.
Following the incident, the Express was told that on November 3, an official at the school the teenager attends called her out during the morning assembly and warned the girl about her sexual behaviour.
This did not sit well with fellow-students, who felt the situation could have been dealt with differently.
The teenager has returned to school and her parents have declined to comment on the matter.
The Express understands that a report was made to the police, but officers remained mum on the matter.
The girl was also the alleged victim of sexual abuse by a male relative. That relative is currently before the courts charged with the offence.
In response to this latest incident, an official at the Education Division of the Tobago House of Assembly said there is a shortage of guidance counsellors at schools.
And social worker Williams Gooding said there should be mandatory reporting of cases of rape and sexual abuse.
“So any child who tells a parent, a teacher, a guidance counsellor, a neighbour that they have been touched inappropriately, that adult is mandated under law to report it to the police,” said Gooding.
Once a member of the sexual assault working committee, she said those in authority need to do more to protect the children of the nation.
“The instances in which it is occurring to me is very high and I think sensitisation is important, so the public needs to be aware. So it’s about empowering our children and letting them know they have a right to say who touches them, and their bodies belong to them, and they can make choices.”
For further information on how to deal with such matters, the public can call the Child and Adolescent Centre at Scarborough General Hospital at 660-4744 extension 3175 or 660-7338 extension 3400.