Civil society demands to take her away from the family amid victim shaming " />

Schoolgirl raped in Azerbaijan: public demands investigation, father wants daughter to marry alleged rapist

Civil society demands to take her away from the family amid victim shaming

A report that a 14-year-old schoolgirl was raped in the Lerik region of Azerbaijan went viral on social networks and in the media, provoking a strong public reaction.

According to unconfirmed information, the seventh grader was raped by the nephew of a local official, 24-year-old Elnur Mamedov, and is now in the fourth month of pregnancy. Moreover, the rapist made a video of the incident to blackmail his victim. When the locals found out about this they set out to arrange a lynching to punish Mamedov, while the girl’s family left for Baku. The Qafqazinfo website cites the source as Rafig Jalilov, the editor of the ‘Tolışi Sədo’ newspaper. When other media sources came to Lerik, the locals confirmed that the rape did take place and everyone in the district knows about it.

The site tried to contact the father of the alleged victim, who refused to talk to them. However, he gave an interview to the site Azxeber, in which he categorically denied the abuse of his daughter and her pregnancy. According to him, Mamedov is a friend of the family who wanted to ‘kidnap’ the girl for the purpose of getting married. But the father, he said, prevented him from doing this, saying that they had to wait until she is of legal marrying age.

As reported by the portal 1news, the prosecutor’s office of the Lerik region stated that no complaints related to the rape were received.

However, many users of social networks, led by journalists and social activists, are convinced of the rape allegations and believe there is an effort to hush things up. Journalist Khadija Ismail began collecting signatures under an online petition in which she asks the authorities, foreign embassies and international organizations to figure out what happened, investigate, punish the perpetrators and take the girl away from her parents who are shielding her abuser.

People were further upset by the fact that the girl’s father, when talking about the upcoming marriage between his daughter and the ‘friend of the family’, said that nobody would ask the opinion of the potential bride.

Discussing this story in social networks, Azerbaijani users, as usual, split off into two camps:

– some consider what happened as a monstrous crime and demand justice, while

– others doubt that the girl was raped and directly or indirectly accuse her of frivolity. “She partied herself pregnant and now wants to clear her name,” one commenter posted.

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