SVG releases  statistics on rape
July 19, 2011
SVG releases statistics on rape

by Peter Marshall Fri, Jul 19, 2011

Fresh off a report which put St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the country in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) with the most female homicides, numbers from the same source again call into question the state of gender relations here in SVG.{{more}}

This time, alarming rape figures have been highlighted from the June 29, 2011 address, delivered by Yasmin Odlum at the Regional Colloquium on Women Leaders as Agents of Change in Trinidad, and covered in our edition of July 15, 2011.

Odlum, a representative of the Inter-American Commission of Women, which is an organ of the OAS, reports that for the period 2000-2010, 802 women in St. Vincent and the Grenadines reported that they had been raped. Of these 802 reports, the total charges or convictions stand at a paltry 255.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines’s total rape reports are contrasted against the 587 of St. Lucia, 569 of Antigua, 317 of Grenada and 153 and 128 of Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis respectively, over the same period.

These figures, she said, were gleaned from the respective Gender Affairs Bureaus of the islands.

She points out that the Caribbean is “way over the global average” of rapes per 100,000 persons and again, St. Vincent and the Grenadines ranks high, with 112 rapes per 100,000, second only to Bahamas’ 133.

Countries such as Jamaica with 51 per 100,000 and Trinidad & Tobago with 18, fall some distance behind on this ratio.

Odlum further asserts that rape and sexual assault as serious problems in the Caribbean as a whole. She cites the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as pinpointing the Caribbean as having higher assault rapes than any other region in the world.

Back in St. Vincent and the Grenadines however, the precise number of reported rapes has been disputed by some quarters. Official numbers gained from the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force place the number of rapes reported far lower at 540, for the time period 2001-2010.

Intriguingly, the break down of the official police rape reports per year over the time period 2001-2010 are identical to the Odlum figures up to 2006. From 2001-2006, both reports disaggregate the rape reports per year as being 51, 42, 60, 66, 87 and 50. From 2007 however, the numbers are vastly different. The official police reports list these four years as having 65, 36, 54,and 28 rape reports, as opposed to the strikingly higher figures gleaned by Odlum from the Gender Affairs Bureau which list the figures at 83, 102, 119, and 84. Efforts to resolve this discrepancy remained futile up to press time on Monday afternoon.

The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force lists the total number of sexual offences reported including rape, attempted rape, statutory rape and incest, at 977 for the years 2001-2010.