"I couldn't prove the truth." The story of a Georgian girl who committed suicide
On February 10, a 14-year-old girl was found hanging in the courtyard of her house in a village in the Kobuleti municipality in the Adjara region.
A few hours after the incident, the police arrested a 24-year-old man accused of having sex with a minor.
The police already knew that on December 10, the ninth grader had been abused – she was interrogated by the police, an examination was carried out and the alleged perpetrator was identified on the same day.
However, he not only was not detained, but he was not even interrogated. Somehow the law allowed it.
Consequently, within two months the alleged perpetrator could move about freely, could, if he wanted, even contact the victim.
The man was detained only after the girl hung herself in the yard of her house.
Note: The story told in the article is based on the story of one source who did not want to be named, but due to the high public interest in this case, we decided to publish the story.
Nini was eight years old when her father passed and her mother moved away.
The father died in an accident – according to the source, he was carrying an iron cross to a church on the mountain, and at that time he was struck by lightning and died on the spot.
Soon after the death of her husband, the mother left her three children to her husband’s elderly parents and went to work in Turkey.
The children, Nini and her older brothers and sisters, were raised by their grandparents.
Several years ago, the grandmother suffered a stroke. The bedridden woman was looked after by the children. After her death, her grandfather became their sole guardian.
Later, when Nini’s sister became an adult, she was appointed as Nini’s legal guardian. All these years she was like a mother to her, but in the summer she got married and left her home, which was probably hard for Nini to endure.
The source reports that the family had no financial problems during the life of the father. He had his own small business, he was engaged in transportation and had a normal income.
The family is not very poor even now – they have a good house, there are no problems with food. The grandfather worked the land, the children received benefits for the loss of the breadwinner, the family was helped by relatives.
The school says that during the pandemic, Nini never had problems with the Internet, she had a smartphone and she always diligently attended online lessons.
According to the teachers, she was always a disciplined and polite child, never created problems for anyone.
The source reports that Nini was “a humble child who tried not to offend anyone.”
“As if she was always older than her age. She looked like a big girl, as if she had already grown up. I don’t remember her jumping in the yard. She always did something around the house.”
Was Nini abused at home?
The parents of the 24-year-old man accused of sexual assault told reporters that the grandfather systematically abused the child:
“He got drunk and used violence against her. She told all this to my son. They were friends. She told him everything and asked for help, to take her with her. My son didn’t even touch her with a single finger,” says the mother of the detained boy.
However, neither the school nor social services confirm the information about child abuse in the family.
According to JAMnews, a social worker worked with the family for at least six years (after the children were orphaned), and their reports did not mention violence from their grandfather.
“And if someone knew that the child was being abused, why didn’t they say it earlier? Waiting for her death? It turns out that they are also accomplices of that boy?! Why weren’t they told by the police, the school, or the social worker?”, JAMnews’ source asks.
On December 10, Nini sat at the Kobuleti police station and answered questions from the investigator.
It was the day her family filed the report of violence with the police.
Nini’s interrogation was carried out in the presence of a social worker, who at that moment learned about the case of violence against Nini.
Nini remembered everything in detail – how she met Nika, what they talked about, what happened next.
Nini underwent an examination – it was to determine whether she really had had a sexual relationship. After that, they let Nika home and said that they would call as soon as they received the expert’s opinion from Tbilisi.
Exactly two months after that day, on February 10, the girl committed suicide.
The first meeting
Nini met 24-year-old Nika from the neighboring town of Chakvi via the Internet in June.
They chatted with each other online for almost six months before meeting.
According to a JAMnews source, the young man first visited Nini in her village in November. Then the first sexual intercourse happened between them. (The girl’s grandfather claims that the man had physical contact with her back in the summer).
Nini considered herself betrothed – the young man told her that he loved and promised to marry her.
After the first meeting, the young people continued their relationship online.
At that time, no one in Nini’s family knew anything about this relationship, and no one noticed anything suspicious in her behavior.
In early December, the boy came to Nini a second time. And this time the meeting ended with sex.
According to a JAMnews source, it was the events after the second meeting that made Nini tell her family about what happened.
After the second meeting, the guy disappeared from sight and did not get in touch – he did not appear online, did not answer her calls.
A few days later, the desperate girl confessed to her aunt that she had had sex twice with a grown man who had cheated and abandoned her.
The family went to the police. It was December 10, 2020.
“On the same day, an investigation began. According to Nini’s stories, the rapist was identified immediately. However, so far he has not even been interrogated, since he refused to testify without trial, to which he was entitled by law.
Nini was examined. It had to be determined if there was penetration. Until the forensic medical examination responded, the person suspected of being in connection with the minor could not even be summoned to court for questioning. This is the law,” a source told JAMnews.
JAMnews’ source also reports that before her death, Nini kept a personal diary in which she made notes.
“One of her last entries: ‘I could not prove the truth in any way.’ The fact is that the child was expecting punishment from the one who did this to her.”
The source says Nini’s notebook is now with the police.
Expert response and last visit to the police
The grandfather of the deceased says in an interview that the expert’s answers were late.
“The expert’s opinion did not arrive from Tbilisi on time. One conclusion has come, the other has not. I called the investigator and asked if the conclusion had come? They said no … The girl told me: ‘Grandpa, during this time it would have come from Moscow. In the morning I went to work, and in the evening I found her hanging,’ he told RFE/RL radio.
According to the JAMnews source, the results of the examination arrived in Kobuleti last week, almost two months later. Nini’s family was reportedly notified on 3 February and Nini was summoned for further questioning.
This was Nini’s last visit to the police. He was interrogated in the presence of a social agent and was soon released.
“It was stated that she had an injury to her right foot. Small bruise. When this was fixed, Nini was called in to find out what he was doing. Nini said she hit the bed and it had nothing to do with the rape case.”
In addition, the survey confirmed that intercourse had indeed taken place, although since the survey was conducted within weeks of the incident, it could not determine if it was the first.
“As far as I know, the guy said that he was not the first and not the only sexual partner of Nini … these rumors may have reached the child. Nini probably had different expectations from the examination. She probably thought that as soon as the answer was received, the guy would be arrested, but this did not happen. Questions remain, is it easy to confirm such a story. How to prove it? Nini was annoyed that everyone still doubted her and that the truth was not clear to everyone.
The source also says that after Nini’s family informed the police, the boy’s parents contacted his grandfather and relatives and tried to persuade him to withdraw the application.
“They offered an engagement. So that they get married as soon as she becomes an adult. The opinions of the relatives were divided, the grandfather was not against Nini’s marriage. But my uncle didn’t want to. Nini herself was also against. “
The social worker offered Nini to help a psychologist, to which the girl did not agree and said that everything was in order.
After February 1, after a long break, studies at the village school continued in classes, but Nini did not come to school.
The school principal says that no one told the school that one of the students had been a victim of violence and that a case had been opened.
“We were told that she goes to the dentist and therefore cannot go to school,” a local school director told RFE / RL.
The source claims that from Nini’s appearance it was impossible to guess that she was in such a serious psychological state:
“I don’t know what happened that day. She did it in a state of passion. She was making plans for the future. Do people who make plans commit suicide?
She didn’t think this story was the end of her life. Her dream was to go to her mother. Even before this incident, she kept saying that she wanted to see her mother. Something happened that plunged her into a state of passion. Maybe that guy wrote something to her? Or was it haunted by the thought that they did not believe her? “
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the detained young man was charged under Article 140 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which presupposes sexual intercourse with a person who has not reached the age of majority.
As for the death of the girl, the case is being investigated under article 115 of the Criminal Code – incitement to suicide.
According to human rights activists, the incident with Nini once again reveals systemic problems in the country with regard to crimes against women and children.
Nini’s case is special – the system learned the story of the injured teenager not after her suicide, but much earlier, although neither her family, nor law enforcement agencies, nor social services were able to save her.
“The main culprit in this situation is clearly the state – the state did not ensure the involvement of the appropriate persons in this child’s case,” says Tamar Lukava, a lawyer with Sapari.
This organization has been defending the rights of women and children for years. According to the lawyer, they are constantly faced with cases, the main problem of which is the prolonged delay in the investigation and examination.
“The paradox is that in cases where children and women have already been granted victim status, persecution does not start. That is, the prosecutor’s office says that the crime took place, we have a victim, but we do not have a culprit,” says Lukava.
According to her, women and children have to wait for a forensic medical examination for a very long time.
“Several examinations can be assigned to the case, for example, medical, biological, psychological. One conclusion comes, where it is written in black and white that the crime took place, but for some reason the prosecutor’s office is waiting for the conclusions of other criminologists. It is inconceivable that in such cases there was so much evidence. Is a direct witness to, for example, pedophilia possible? The main thing here is the victim and his testimony, and the prosecutor’s office does not take this into account,” says Lukava.
“Because of Nini”
After the incident in Kobuleti, the women’s organization launched a 100-day campaign called #Ninisgamo – which means ‘because of Nini.’
This campaign, with hundreds of women involved, has specific goals and demands:
● Change the article in the criminal code on rape and make dissent a central issue. “If you have not been raped or beaten, in Georgia it is not considered rape, this should be changed,” says Baia Pataraia, one of the leaders of the Women’s Movement.
● Create a specialized department in the prosecutor’s office to investigate cases of sexual violence.
● Make it part of formal education for children to identify and protect against sexual abuse.
● Raise the issue of the prosecutor’s liability for negligence in the Nini case.
“We must act 100 days to achieve these demands,” the women say.
Human rights defenders also demand the creation of a real social protection service in the country. For reference, the municipality of Kobuleti, where there are more than 50 villages, is served by one social worker.