Dear Editor:

I woke up with a knife at my throat and was raped by the gardener one morning when I was living in Salt Lake City

My well-known fiancé was out of town on business. My secretary at the law firm recommended a gardener, a young man, a close family friend. I told the “family friend” to just remove the knife and I’d do what he wanted. I was 35, had been married, had taught family law and knew much about rape, called my fiancé, called a Utah female Supreme Court Justice I knew, both before I called the police. They were respectful in light of my contacts. Still the questioning, the hospital blood draw and vaginal exam were torture. My rapist confessed. He got three to seven years in prison.

From then I lived with a gun, two large dogs and pepper sprays and fear.

Last week a sharp neighbor from two fields across, told me I needed to be careful. The watchman for the two weekend houses next to me was drunk when he went to the tienda one day and blabbed that he was looking for a woman. Christina was “solo”… maybe her. I have the three large dogs with me at home. I am taking measures to have protection when the dogs cannot be with me as I come and go. I will be better prepared than the women who were attacked in their homes in SMA by a serial rapist some time back.

However, the watchman is also following young children out of school and trying to lure them, including my neighbor’s daughter. The neighbor went to the delegado for help. He said it was her problem. The other mothers are too scared to deal with the man. If a child is raped and reveals it, she/he will be told to keep quiet and not shame the family.

The family is shamed by shielding the spoiled male they raised on a pedestal and don’t want him exposed as the criminal he is. The family is shamed by the fact that no one will even tell the father. The women are shamed by inaction. What good will it do, they say. The child is left to deal with this alone. Imagine helplessly facing your rapist every day, afraid, ashamed and alone.

In Mexico 49% of the young women are sexually assaulted before 20. Not coincidentally, Mexico has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the OECD countries. These children are preyed on by strangers, their cousins, their priests, their uncles, family friends, school officials.

I went to a prominent NGO to ask if they would invite Veronica Agundis, the Federal Deputy, to speak to them on these issues. No, they only wanted to hear of happy smiling children I was told. There would be no help from them in dealing with rape, teen pregnancy, birth control, all causes of unemployment, poverty, of past and future criminals, the foundations of many of the problems in Mexico.

If every male in the world woke up in bed with a knife at his throat and was raped, would the conspiracy of silence and shame be broken?

Christine Eleanor Anderson

 

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