Regarding the above links, an awful story however you look at it and I’d like to stress that none of what I’m about to say is a critique, none of this was deserved or fault-based, and that there are predators that will find a way regardless of how astute a person may or may not be. That being said, and living in one of “these countries”, if I could leave some thoughts to contemplate on when/if travelling abroad or even inter-country if living in a large one. Note these are just my opinion so take it accordingly:
1. If you’re a woman and absolutely need to go out after dark, bring a buddy or have a gentleman friend/colleague/partner/family member go on your behalf. Especially if you’ve been partying earlier in the night and may not be of entirely sound mind. This now applies to anywhere in the world when you’re travelling far away from home-base. It’s an advisement, not a critique or blame…and a heartfelt one.
2. Once/if assaulted, make a report to local police, offer to give testimony if the case goes to trial (even if not really willing, intending, or wanting), and be voluntary with any ongoing investigation. The laws in “these countries” will, of course, be different than in your home-country – it’s a different culture, they’re not under any obligation to have the set of laws from home, nor are they obliged to conduct investigations as you’ve become accustomed. They’re not home and are often undeveloped, inexperienced, and technologically-lacking – this should be acknowledged. Some do a great job but don’t have the same protocols, and those are misread as incompetent or indifferent. Take this into consideration before traveling. Another important element: if you’d like them to pursue the investigation, are asking for damages, want to file lawsuits, have LE follow-up on leads and re-calibrate previous information….and you’ve chosen not to file a police statement, make any official report, or return to testify (based on the reported statements on DR-media and counter to the apparent advisement of her own embassy/consulate representative, as was apparently reported in their press, also now stated by D.R. law-enforcement)….you’ve just majorly tied their hands for doing so, regardless of how inept their process may (or may not) be. It’s a precedent for future legal action, pressure from the local government, and puts the resort under pressure to act proactively to protect their reputation. If you’re not willing to follow-up legally, it will likely be brushed under the proverbial rug. If you simply put pressure on verbally from afar, it’ll inevitably be your word against theirs….and, remember, they want this to go away and have no potential legal consequences to not make it do so if that’s the case.
3. The beach and anywhere near it in any country in the Caribbean or Latin America….is NOT a place to be for a foreigner after dark, especially a foreigner previously drinking, especially a foreigner that’s a woman, especially a foreigner who’s alone, especially at 11 pm at night. Don’t assume this will necessarily be different at a security-enforced resort (though, yes, I know, that’s a big part of what you’re paying for…) and, I’d like to point out, this is not victim-blaming and she admits error in this regard openly, knowing it was a mistake that she won’t repeat. Note that most security, maintenance, and cleaning-staff in places such as this are paid minimally (I know this first-hand as a former security-trainer in CR), are not vetted/without background checks, are most often extremely low-class and uneducated but with an intimate understanding of violence, and are transient and short-staying-including sometimes being illegal within the country. With that volume of rotating staff and that size of grounds, it’s not difficult for members of the surrounding community or ex-employees to obtain or have official resort attire, slip through security, be allowed in by unethical staff, or sneak onto the grounds from strategic points-of-entry previously-known. Now, to be sure, most are simply simple hard-working people trying to support their family, but every so often….
4. To be sure, the resort will or at least should be liable for much here. A resort this size (see Google) without any security cameras should set off major alarm bells. The front desk neglected to act at least 3 times according to public statement. They made broad insinuations about her to her family/friends. Positive public relations may well have dictated that a refund and covered medical costs would be in-order (as she stated and was pushing for), absolutely. HOWEVER, that insinuates at least some culpability and they may have been advised against it by legal counsel should a greater suit be coming. They are a corporation with shareholders and investors and funders, after all…and often from North America or Europe. (That will happen just as easily in the “1st-World” as it will in “these countries”)
5. There are predators that want something (capital) and those who enjoy the task/process (operational); ones who will attack for a specific reason (sexual gratification, money, valuables, vehicle, drugs, whatever) and those who do so because they enjoy or crave the act itself. Hard to say what this was. He took nothing, left all her belongings. He may have sexually-assaulted her but we simply don’t know and won’t. He was comfortable with extreme violence and had very likely participated in it before, of that we can be pretty solid.
6. Full points for her fight for personal survival. Again we see her innate survival instincts kick in at various points during the incident and, as she claims, she may be with her head on a swivel, with PTSD and hypervigilance, and far greater (maybe for the time being uber-) awareness….but she’s been given another shot to make them positive skillsets. Maybe her fighting, losing consciousness, opportunely having calm rush over her and have her survival instinct kick-in at various stages of the attack….all happened at exactly the time they should’ve. Of course, fortune also helped, but we tend to look at these as a “if only she had” situation when the end result is that she survived and lived to tell the tale, and able to advise other women along the way from a survivalist perspective.
As we’re seeing with updates from the police investigation and follow-up interviews, there are still a number of loose ends and contradicting information, some of which have left a nagging intuitive perplexity with me as well since the story broke. I’m curious as to how this all ends up…..