Eighty-four per cent of Romanians believe that, in Romania, sentences for rape are far too lenient, according to a recent IRES opinion poll. The research called ‘Public perceptions of the Vaslui rape case’, done on 1015 subjects on 30 July 2015, came as a result of the massively publicised case of a Vaslui girl raped by seven young men.
According to the opinion poll, 94% of the respondents had heard about the Vaslui rape and knew that the suspects were investigated at large and over 6 in every 10 respondents said they were interested in the subject. The main means of information regarding the case was the television – 89% of the informed respondents had found out about the rape on the TV. Only 14% believe the mass-media gave too much attention to the case.
Most respondents were of the opinion that the Court decision to allow the seven suspects to be free during investigations was not correct.
‘I was shocked by the Vaslui case and I can see many people in that community defended the rapists. They said the girl was to blame. It’s a reversed logic’, IRES sociologist Dan Jurcan said, on Digi24.
The sociologist believes this kind of upside-down logic where the victim is made responsible pertains to some traditional mentality remnants. The locals of that rural community should understand that it is not just their village. As long as it has become a problem of all Romanians, they, too, should think they are part of Romania that tends towards modernity. They simply cannot remain in traditional mentality logic’, Dan Jurcan said, according to Digi24.
20% aware of rape not reported to Police
One of the most concerning aspects shown by the opinion poll is that 20% of the respondents were aware of a rape that was never reported to the Police.
‘What shocked me the most was that 20% knew about a rape that had not been reported to the authorities. That’s extremely serious. Actually, one in every five Romanians is aware of a rape where the perpetrator was never brought to justice, and that is an indication of the scale of the phenomenon, which should really worry us’, said Dan Jurcan.
‘More detailed assessments have shown that, in Moldavia, the situation is slightly different. Whilst in Transylvania 8% heard of a rape, 16% – almost double – heard of one in Moldavia. I wouldn’t want to generalise, but we wonder how this case was brought to public attention. It’s a very interesting phenomenon related to the mass-media and Facebook connection. The Vaslui case is framed in the same patterns as two other phenomena the last two years: Rosia Montana and the queuing to the vote abroad’, the sociologist further noted.
Caracal assailants arrested
The four aggressors including the soldier with the Deveselu NATO army base accused of having raped an 18-year old young woman in Caracal were arrested on Wednesday. At the Military Prosecutor’s Office there were also the parents of the victim who said the four men had shown no remorse for what they had done and they hadn’t even apologised.
‘I have never imagined I would be raped by four men exactly the day I was turning 18. I want justice to be done and I want them to end up where they belong, in prison’, the victim from Rusanesti-Olt told Realitatea TV.
Until Wednesday, the four suspects had been free. One of them is a military with the NATO unit at Deveselu.
Although the girl had filed a complaint to the Police, the Caracal prosecutors sent the case to be investigated into by the Military Prosecutor’s Office in Bucharest only on 23 July. The justification of the prosecutors was that they weren’t sure about the jurisdictional competence since one of the perpetrators was a military.
The Bucharest Military Prosecutor’s Office has started the criminal investigation and, on Wednesday, issued arrest warrants for 24 hours for the four suspects. On Thursday, they will be presented before the Bucharest Tribunal with a proposal to be remanded in custody for 30 days.