Memorial Wall : victims of rape

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This Memorial Wall is our tributes to those who have died as a result of child abuse, domestic violence, rape, religious abuse, or other types of abuse. Some of these people we knew personally, others we only heard of. Abuse is not a theoretical concept, it happens to real people, and costs lives. It's important to honor those we lost to abuse by telling their stories, so that the secret that killed them does not remain secret, and so that other lives might be saved, as a result of increased awareness.
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May 12th:
Zhao Shanshan and Sun Qingqing
died on May 12th, 2010

According to the official version of events, two 14yo girls, Zhao and Sung, middle school students from China, voluntarily attended a party that consisted of adult men only, had sex with those men, and then committed suicide. According to the girls' relatives, however, the girls were kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Zhao's father said, "There are a dozen men in this town who are known to rob and rape. <...>The kids are scared of them. These hoodlums would beat those who refuse to do what they want. They raped many girls in the middle school, at least 30. The girls and their parents would not speak up out of fear. People in the surrounding villages are scared of them, too, and try to avoid them. <...> Leader Qu Tao celebrated his birthday and detained the two girls in his apartment. When we went looking for our daughter, three of them armed with screwdrivers tried to stop us from entering. I saw from outside through the apartment windows that the girls were fine. When we eventually got into the apartment they had already drunk the pesticide. Those men killed them to shut them up." Sung's sister added, "Local officials have not given us a reasonable answer. We went to the school trying to understand what happened. The people from school would not let us in and beat us. The coroner's examination revealed the girls’ hymens had been ruptured. <...> We tried to hire a lawyer. They told us they would not take our case because whoever takes the case would lose his job."


Posted by Manya on July 29th, 2018
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May 13th:
Vidhya Sivaloganathan
died on May 13th, 2015

18yo Vidhya from Sri Lanka attended school 2km from home and loved animals. "We reared the livestock," her mom said, "the goat, the cow and the chickens for eggs and milk but Vidhya always treated them like personal friends. I often scolded her over it because she was always cuddling them and getting her white uniform dirty. She would cuddle them before going to school and then cuddle them as soon as she returned from school too. It used to annoy me no end but now all those memories are so bitter-sweet to us. It is who she was. If I ever scolded her for talking to dumb animals as equals, she would say, ‘Amma they are not dumb animals. They are intelligent sentient beings without a voice. We have to be extra kind to them.'"

At 7:25AM on May 13th, 2015, Vidhya was riding her bike to school, when she was kidnapped and raped to death by four adults in their 30s and 40s and five youths. Apparently the adults had a grudge with Vidhya's family. "Last year," explained her mom, "I had happened to notice one of the houses of my relatives abroad, who kept their house locked up, with its gates wide open. I informed my relative of this, she in turn informed the local police from abroad and they had happened to catch some people on their own. I had nothing to do with it and I don’t think it has any implication in my daughter's rape and murder." "What may I ask is wrong with my mother’s action?" added Vidhya's brother. "People keep blaming us for it as if Vidhya's fate would have been spared but for this incident. We don't think so. This island suffers under too much a climate of crime along with too much a climate of fear of exposing the criminals. That is why incidents like these happen again and again."


Posted by Manya on June 25th, 2018
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May 16th:
Mahmoud Hrouk
died on May 16th, 2015

16yo Mahmoud from Australia aspired to own his own construction company and play professionally for the Bulldogs. He spent the day of May 16th working with his uncle, and had asked permission from his father to ride his bicycle to get dinner. At 6:22PM he was at a local fast food restaurant with someone he considered a friend. At 9:42PM Mahmoud spoke on the phone with his mom. "Where are you? Come home!" she said. "It's OK Mum, I'm with my friend... I've got my bike... I will come home," Mahmoud replied. His "friend" was a 24yo drug dealer with a violent criminal history who was released on bail on the condition that he reported to the local police station every day of the week and could not leave home unless in the company of his father. This man lured Mahmoud into a vacant property used by local youth as a hangout, raped him, and bashed him to death with a toaster.


Posted by Manya on June 25th, 2018
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May 20th:
Obaida Sedqi
died on May 20th, 2016

8yo Obaida lived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with his mom, dad, and two younger sisters. The family was originally from Jordan. Obaida attended the second grade, and was a smart kid, according to friends and relatives; he would always give directions to taxi drivers while returning home with his mother from mall visits. The family lived on the fourth floor, above Obaida's dad car repair shop. In the beginning of May, a new customer, also Jordanian, came to the shop to have his car repaired. "We don't know him," said Obaida's mom. "I did not feel comfortable about this man from the beginning." The man was friendly with Obaida, who spent a lot of time in his dad's shop, allowed the boy to watch cartoons in his car sometimes, and offered to buy him a scooter. In the afternoon of May 31st Obaida left the house to join his father in the workshop. He went down the stairs, but never arrived to the workshop. The parents only realized he was missing at 9:30PM, when the father closed the workshop and returned home. Obaida was kidnapped by that customer, who sexually assaulted him and then strangled him with a red ghutrah (traditional Arab headdress) when the boy tried to resist. Obaida's body was found two days later, 14 miles away. The man tried to use the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder and alcoholism for insanity plea, but was sentenced to death and executed.


Posted by Manya on February 11th, 2018
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May 24th:
Hope Arismandez
died on May 24th, 2008

Hope was an 8yo girl from Trinidad who liked to read and wanted to be a teacher when she grows up. "She is very intelligent and knows what she is about and is very aware as to what is happening around her. She was taught right from wrong and knew how she was to be treated by anyone, whether they were man or woman," said her dad. Hope was raped and murdered by her mom's boyfriend. He tried to rape her but she fought back and he realized he can't let her live because she'll tell on him, so he slashed her throat. Hope's relative said, "I really don't know why an innocent child like this had to go in such a brutal and inhumane manner. What did she ever do to deserve this?"


Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2016
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May 31st:
Azan Majid Janjua
died on May 31st, 2017

11yo Azan spent the first eight years of his life with his mom in Russia, and then moved to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to live with his dad, as they agreed when he was born. The dad, originally from Pakistan, graduated a medical school in Russia and was living in Abu Dhabi with his father, second wife, and two young children. "We had a nice time since Azan joined us," he said. "He liked his younger siblings." On May 31st the family was celebrating Ramadan. Azan was fasting with his parents, said his morning prayers with him, went to a mosque for the afternoon prayer and Quran recitation, and headed home. A man dressed in burka, like a woman, lured Azan into the elevator in his apartment building, took him to the rooftop, and raped and murdered him. He knew the boy wouldn't go with a man without his parents' permission. Azan's body was found the next morning by AC technicians, half naked, with his copy of Quran next to him.


Posted by Manya on February 11th, 2018
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June 14th:
Remie Palmero
died on June 14th, 2015

11yo Mimi from Philippines had autism and struggled communicating, but she was a cheerful and affectionate girl who was loved by her family and neighbors. On June 14th, 2015, Mimi's neighbor and relative took her to a remote location, raped her, strangled her, and mutilated her body. The neighbors saw him playing with Mimi earlier, and started searching for them. Two days later they found Mimi's body. "When I arrived there, I realized that it really is my child. I found her blue slippers, her yellow shorts, her orange spaghetti dress."


Posted by Manya on May 12th, 2017
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June 18th:
Nabra Hassanen
died on June 18th, 2017

17yo Nabra, high school sophomore from Virginia, USA, was celebrating the holy month of Ramadan at the local mosque. Between 3AM and 4AM about 15 teenagers, including Nabra, walked over to a McDonald's nearby, and on their way back to the mosque came into a dispute with a construction worker who was driving by. He drove into a curb, followed the kids to a parking lot, chased them with a baseball bat, hit Nabra with it, grabbed her, and drove off with her in his car, as the rest of the kids fled to the mosque. He raped and murdered Nabra, and dumped her body in a pond near his home.


Posted by Manya on June 25th, 2018
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June 26th:
Sofia Rodriguez-Urrutia Shu
died on June 26th, 2006

8yo Sofia from Western Australia had mom, dad, and two older siblings. On June 26th she was at a local mall with her uncle and 14yo brother. Sofia went to the bathroom and never came back. Her brother found her dead body just 10 minutes later. Sofia was sexually assaulted and killed in the bathroom stall by a mall employee who has been investigated for a similar assault on another 8yo girl three years prior.

"As a family we talk about Sofia maybe once or twice a week," her father said. "We talk more as if Sofia is still around somehow more than what happened. She would have turned 18 (last year), she would be driving now, legal now. You also get strength from situations like this and we feel stronger now ... we also feel that Sofia has been helping us." Sofia's school established an annual scholarship in her honor, and The Chapel of the Innocents in their church.


Posted by Manya on October 13th, 2017
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June 28th:
Renea Lau Yuk-ling
died on June 28th, 2014

32yo Renea from Australia worked as pastry chef at Ganache Chocolates; she was passionate about making desserts and very good at it. Renea also sang at the Melbourne Chinese Baptist Church. "Her singing wasn't the best," her boyfriend said, "but she sang anyway because she loved to." The night before her death, Renea, her boyfriend and their friends practiced songs for their upcoming gig at an aged care home. Around 5.30am the next morning, on her way to work, Renea was violently attacked, raped, and strangled to death by a homeless man. He later explained that he "didn't even think about it" but "just exploded into this violent, violent rage"."Renea Lau had never met you, had never seen you," the judge said to the rapist. "You had never spoken to her. You had no relationship with her whatsoever, you merely passed her in the street and, as a result of that, she is now dead at your hands in a most brutal and sadistic manner."


Posted by Manya on June 27th, 2018
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