RESIDENTS from the Beausejour community have responded strongly to an incident involving the sexual attack of an elderly female that occurred, on Sunday, and are calling on the authorities to take action to assist them.
The residents hope their pleas will not fall on ‘deaf ears’ as there has been repeated incidents of that nature, which occurred in the neighbourhood prior to this latest incident.
The woman in her seventies was walking along the Caye Mange Road when she was reportedly attacked by a knife wielding bandit and dragged into the bushes where she was sexually assaulted as she went about her early morning walk in the area.
Speaking to journalists, President of the Beausejour Community Group, Jim Joseph condemned the attack saying that it has brought “immense sorrow to the victim of this horrendous act and to persons who were affected by this.”
Joseph added: “This is something that you never want to hear happen in your community or even in your country that somebody who has served faithfully and is trying to exercise, trying to keep fit especially a vulnerable person and someone of that age.”
He said it was commendable that someone in her 70s would take time to exercise, however for someone to attack her while exercising is a ‘horrendous act’, a coward who has no respect for life.
In the wake of this “horrendous act” the president has called for better physical conditions in the area, including; de-bushing, proper street lights and surveillance cameras.
Joseph made a plea for resolution in an effort to mitigate against those predators. He reported that for this year there has been at least three other incidents that occurred in the adjoining Bella Rosa area and the Beausejour vicinity.
While calling on the authorities to help curb these unsavoury incidents, he said, this was not a time to apportion blame to anyone but for residents to take collective responsibility for their wellbeing.
“This is a time for us to take stock and for each of us to see what we can do, and to ensure that we look out for each other,” he asserted.
“My heart grieves for that person,” he said. “I just can’t imagine how traumatised that person would be.
He declared that the incident was not an isolated one and it was rather unfortunate that in a small country like Saint Lucia, people do not feel free to walk as a form of exercise and fall victim to others who harbour ill will.
“We’ve had repeated incidents like this,” Joseph stated. He recalled having to contact the media previously on several occasions regarding such occurrences.
In October, it was reported that a Beausejour resident was left traumatized after avoiding a rape attack by an unknown male individual.
Reports stated that in the early morning hours a young lady was walking down the street when she noticed a short dark male following her.
She started running and screaming for help and the male individual started chasing her with his penis in his hands.
Luckily, the woman managed to stop an oncoming vehicle with two other ladies who frightened him, causing him to disappear into a nearby bush.
Joseph noted that his community group has teamed up with the police to provide education campaigns and self defence programmes, as well as letting people know what to do, and avoid, when walking by themselves.
“Just recently we were in discussion about having another series of programmes,” he explained. “We have to understand that people who commit those crimes are either not of sound mind, or probably have gotten away with it in the past and they think they can continue doing this without any repercussions.”
He advised that people should take certain precautions when venturing out to do physical exercise, and listed some precautionary measures such as;
• walk in groups
• walk with an appropriate object to defend yourself
• be vigilant when walking
• use alternative routes
• inform persons of where you are walking
• walk with a cellphone
• keep in contact with people or ensure you have the number of someone or the police in your area that you can call if something happens
• having a means of defence within the confines of the law in the event of attack.
“We also ask persons to be vigilant – keep looking around you and if you see someone approaching you either alter your pace, go to the opposite side of the road, stop, allow the person to pass etc,” Joseph said.