Teenage girl struck twice with machete while escaping attempted rape; Suspect still at large

June 19, 2019

HURFOM: On June 6th 2019, a 17-year-old girl from Hmin War Gone village, Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township, Karen State, was struck twice in the head with a machete when escaping what she believed to be an attempted rape. The girl was visiting her parents’ farm while awaiting the results of her matriculation exam when the attacker entered the family’s home, requested a glass of water, and made an unwanted sexual advance. The perpetrator has yet to be apprehended.

I don’t know who the man is. He entered our house and asked me for a glass of water. After looking around, he told me that he wanted to kiss me. After hearing him say that I was afraid, so I ran out of the house looking for my father. He chased after me and cut me with a knife…I remember him cutting me once on the head. I don’t remember anything after that. Because of so much blood loss, I can’t remember what happened to me,” said Mi T—, the survivor of the attack.

The girl’s family reported the incident to the New Mon State Party (NMSP) on the day of the attack, and though the Hmin War Gone village administrator and other community leaders have been actively looking to apprehend the perpetrator, he has thus far managed to evade arrest.

We’ve gone from village to village looking for the perpetrator. We took photos of suspects and have shown them to the girl. If the girl can confirm that we’ve found the right person, we’ll arrest him and hand him over to the NMSP,” said U Maung Oo, the administrator of Hmin War Gone village.

Immediately following the incident, the girl was brought to a popular private medical clinic in Mawlamyine but was denied service for fear that her wounds were related to a criminal matter. Her family then took her to Mawlamyine General Hospital.

Before she was admitted to this hospital, we brought her to the — private clinic, but they wouldn’t admit her, so we had to come here. The clinic staff suspected the wound was related to a criminal case, and the doctors there told us that they may face consequences for treating her, so they were unable to treat her injuries. That’s why we transferred her to this hospital around 9pm,” said the girl’s aunt.

I started to worry that the general hospital wouldn’t admit her either, so I was prepared to lie and say she fell and cut her head. A senior monk who knows our family told us it was best not to lie, so we told the doctor what actually happened,” the girl’s aunt continued.

Speaking with HURFOM, a lawyer from the Rehmonnya Lawyer’s Network stated that if a wound or injury is the result of a criminal matter, the injured party should seek treatment at a public hospital. Even though a private clinic could likely provide treatment, many refuse to do so based on a general fear of interacting with authorities, worry that the repeated presence of police will reflect poorly on the clinic, and that police questioning or being summoned to testify in court will interrupt clinic services.

According to the girl’s family, the girl’s wounds have begun to heal, and she is expected to fully recover. On June 10th 2019, while still receiving treatment at Mawlamyine General Hospital, the girl was presented 30 photographs of potential suspects, but did not identify any as her attacker.

This incident comes one day after a 4-year-old girl in Thanbyuzayat Township was raped, killed, and had her body thrown in a lake. The alarming level of violence and sexual violence in Mon State and other areas of southeastern Burma is a clear indication that immediate action must be taken if the safety and well-being of women and girls are to be protected and secured. The enactment of the Protection and Prevention of Violence against Women Bill is a moral imperative, for the longer it is postponed, the more this crisis will escalate.

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