"They Wanted to Scare Me" - Sexual Assault Case Has Not Made It to Court
Even though almost a year has passed since the alleged assault, the case has not reached court. Orda looked into the matter.
On the evening of March 8, Elina met up with her friends at a bar. She ran into an old acquaintance there, who got Elina a cocktail. After taking a couple of sips, she suddenly felt very drunk.
When my friend and I went home, the suspect offered to split the trip into three addresses. But as soon as we dropped off (my - Ed.) friend, he took advantage of my helpless condition. (He - Ed.) got a new taxi, indicating his address, the young woman said.
The man committed the act in his apartment, Elina claims. She remembers coming in and out of consciousness and trying to resist. The next morning she woke up unable to comprehend what had happened. When she did, she panicked. She called her friends, who helped her. They also contacted a fund for victims of assault.
They Wanted to Scare Me.
The young women set off for the hospital to confirm the incident. However, the paramedics demanded that the police be called. According to Elina, the police officer who arrived was uncouth and did not even bother to hear her out.
He immediately started with intimidation. He told us all to get in the car and locked it. At first, he started asking me what happened, but at the same time he didn't really let me say anything, he kept interrupting me. He seemed to be trying to find some kind of motive and pressure me. He said: 'You understand the outcome, that it's not just like that, it's 20 years. You will not be able to withdraw the statement', Elina said.
The police officer said that they would go to the suspect's apartment despite the lack of a written statement. When the SVET foundation’s co-founder, Moldir Zhumabayeva, arrived, she demanded a different police officer. For about a day, Elina had to go through all kinds of examinations. She had vaginal tears, bruises on her body, and traces of semen on her underwear.
There were violations in the examinations. We tried to get a petition, something that we need to submit for examination. I couldn't even wash my hands all this time. This went on for several days. They also wanted to bring me in for in-person questioning in the state ( I was in - Ed.). I think they wanted to scare me so that I would agree to reconcile, the young woman says.
Initially, Elina did not have a lawyer. According to her, police officers deliberately confronted the girl with the alleged culprit. For example, a meeting was scheduled, but while Elina was waiting at the entrance to the station, the man appeared and tried to talk to her. On another occasion, Elina was taken into a room where her acquaintance was with six police officers. They held an informal questioning with her. The victim never got an explanation of what it was. Elina claims that police officers even "tried to slip in a non-disclosure agreement."
In November 2023, the case was sent to the prosecutor's office for further transfer to court. Two weeks later, the prosecutor's office sent the case for further investigation. Allegedly, there is a necessity to question the taxi driver from that evening.
They transport different passengers every day, and they want to question him about events that happened 288 days ago. Why did the case not go to court when the suspect's sperm is on the underwear, blood from the vaginal tears of the survivor of assault, and traces of a struggle on the body? Elina said.
The SVET Foundation is still helping the young woman with what happened and is doing everything possible to send the case to court.
Moldir traveled with me all these days and also did not really sleep, was constantly in touch, monitored violations. I was in such a state that I couldn't stand up for myself. If it wasn't for her, they would have put pressure on me in the end, the young girl shares.
Kirill Vshivkov, co-founder of the SVET Foundation, is an expert in assault prevention and gender equality. The human rights defender shared that the most difficult stage is the application process and everything before it. Due to their specificity, examinations and evidence collection progress rather slowly.
In cases of assault, it is difficult to collect evidence, and the evidence obtained must be presented from different sides so that it is valid, reflects reality, and can confirm or refute one or another statement in the investigation, the expert says.
The foundation's employees believed Elina's case would go to court, as there is evidence, interviews with witnesses, and testimony from the first in-person questioning.
However, the prosecutor of the Medeu district decided to send the case for further investigation. This may threaten the case’s closure. Of course, we hope that this is still the usual procedure for additional information collection, but there is always a fear about closure because this is the fate of a person who will have to cope with what happened for a long time, says Kirill.
The human rights defender shares that the foundation's team does not experience pressure from government agencies, yet the work can be tense. He explains that cases are sparingly made public in the interests of those affected. They saw the risk of closure in Elina's situation, however. Thus, the girl decided to speak openly.
It is always difficult to deal with cases of assault for NGOs and NCOs, and often such cases are difficult to prove. However, we accept any circumstances and work with such reality as it is, despite the fact that we would like, of course, more support and fewer obstacles, Kirill explains.
We have sent a request to the police to comment on the situation, but there has been no response for a week now. Orda.kz will continue to follow the situation.
Original Author: Sulamita Baiguzhaeva
DISCLAIMER: This is a translated piece. The text has been modified, the content is the same. Please refer to the original article in Russian for accuracy.
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- "They Wanted to Scare Me" - Sexual Assault Case Has Not Made It to Court