Although we've made a great deal of progress with fighting sexual violence over the past several decades, we're still unfortunately, occasionally reminded that we live in a country where all too often, rape is the punchline of a joke and victims are blamed for the crime. We live in a country where the law can all too easily let rapists off the hook, where a single mother caught for running a thriving marijuana biz might get more jail time than a rapist. It's ridiculous. On the flip side, a recent story out of Bolivia illustrates an extreme, atrocious reaction to a suspected rape.
On Sunday, police had identified a 17-year-old named Santos Ramos as the possible culprit in the rape and murder of a 35-year-old woman. Then, two nights ago, more than 200 angry townspeople seized Ramos, blocked roads into the village to stop police arriving, and proceeded to bury the suspect alive -- in the grave of his alleged victim. OMG, you can't get much more HORRIFIC.
As horrendous a crime as it sounds like Ramos may have committed, the act carried out by the residents of this community is beyond comprehension. The fact that the suspect was only a suspect is deeply disturbing -- not to mention the fact that he was just 17 -- and makes something already so incomprehensibly vile so much worse.
It's a tough pill to swallow that our country can be way too laidback about rape -- and, depending on the case, murder even. But this nightmare in Bolivia actually makes me grateful for our legal system and the fact that here, even the most unfathomable monsters, like Charles Manson and Scott Peterson, have a right to trial by jury. Not "vigilante justice" -- or conviction and capital punishment by mob! UGH.
What's your reaction to this stomach-turning story?
Image via Patrick Feller/Flickr