Another transgender woman was gang raped, this time in Belgium. On any given day of the week, the news about rape, violence, murder, and human rights violations against transgender women can be depressing, and this week is no different.
It’s so much more fun to write about sex and dating than it is to constantly dredge up the struggle against violence that women too often face, including transgender women.
Indeed, rape is so commonplace around the world that one wonders if there is any point to mentioning the specific stories.
But behind every statistic is a real human being. It’s vital that we continue to draw attention to the plight of sexual violence that transgender women face, and that we draw together as a society to condemn these human rights atrocities and punish the perpetrators accordingly.
In this terrible case, which happened in Antwerp, Belgium, a transgender teen celebrated her coming out as a female at the famous Red and Blue nightclub, one of Europe’s most popular gay bars. It was her first time stepping outside as a woman.
After dancing, she left the club for some fresh air and was forced into a taxi by three men who she thought were coming from the bar. They took her by force to one of their apartments and each one took turns raping her.
The brave young woman was able to escape eventually after causing a distraction by biting one of the perpetrators’ penises, then running for it.
It was a terrible initiation into womanhood, and should have been a night of celebration and dancing instead.
There are many questions that remain. While bars frequented by gay folks are open to anyone, how did there just happen to be three straight men set on rape? Was it a fluke, or were the men stalking trans women? Did they possibly approach from the street and not from the club after all? Why were none of the names of the suspects published?
Even as some nations and some publications in Europe use only first names of suspects or none, the Daily Mail certainly doesn’t wait for guilty verdicts. Protecting the identity of the teenage victim is the most likely reason, but does that also mean protecting the rapists? Why are they only facing six years each for violent gang rape?
The suspects initially claimed that they had never been in the bar and that they didn’t touch the victim. After DNA proved their presence, they changed their story to say it was a consensual group orgy that the young woman eagerly participated in.
All good people are disgusted by sexual violence of any kind. This was a uniquely cruel situation. I hope the young woman gets the help she needs professionally to cope with this terrible loss of innocence, and that she finds love and support with a caring community of family and friends.