The kidnapping, attack and alleged rape of an 18-year-old Venezuelan girl on Tuesday in Siparia has caused shock in several quarters prompting various local and international groups to call for justice.
Reports say the victim, from the city of Tucupita, Delta Amacuro State, Venezuela, got into a car in Siparia while travelling to San Fernando to sell empanadas.
Hours later, a taxi driver found her on the side of the road in an isolated area on SS Erin Road and notified the police.
She had been brutally attacked and left for dead in the bushes, only barely managing to crawl to the roadside.
The box with the empanadas that she would sell to help her family was found in the bush.
Family and friends reported that the girl received surgery on Tuesday night and yesterday morning she returned to the operating room where she would be treated for a wound in one eye. Doctors have said that her condition was stable.
The reactions were swift. Chains of prayer for the young woman's health flooded social networks, both by the Latino community and by locals who joined the rejection of violence in TT.
The news was reported by media in Venezuela and the United States.
In as statement on Wednesday, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in TT said, “UNHCR condemns this appalling act and all acts of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
"SGBV is an intolerable reality faced by people of all genders, ages, and sexual orientations, and disproportionately affects society's most vulnerable—including displaced people. In order to prevent instances of SGBV and protect survivors, a comprehensive approach is needed that involves local grassroots communities, organisations, and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago."
Rochelle Nakhid, co-ordinator, Ministry for Migrants and Refugees, Living Water Community, also issued a statement rejecting the violence.
"All persons should be treated with dignity and respect, including and especially the most vulnerable. Women in particular should be free to live without fear of harm and violence because of their gender."
Nakhid recalled that the catechism of the Catholic Church affirms that "respect for the human person considers the other 'another self.' It presupposes respect for the fundamental rights that flow from the dignity intrinsic of the person."
She bluntly rejected the brutal attack against this young Venezuelan woman.
"Violence against women is an act of cowardice; it is unjustified, sinful and is a criminal act. We hope that the offenders are prosecuted quickly and that this survivor can find justice.
"Our community works with survivors of gender-based violence and, unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. We remain committed to providing safe housing, case management and to support the healing process for all survivors."
The Venezuelan community also expressed sorrow over what happened.
The Arima Hispanic Cultural Centre (HCC), echoed demands for justice and, above all, respect for life.
In a statement, the group said, “Violence against women is a clear revelation about the social reality that exists in these times. A society that shows few values and empathy, to reflect hunger, misery, general discrimination, inequality.”
The HCC reaffirmed its commitment to social assistance and the synergy that it is willing to establish to do justice.
From Venezuela, several officials condemned what they claimed to be the continuation of xenophobic and violent acts against immigrants in TT.
Deputy of the National Assembly of Venezuela Chaim Bucaran, in a statement, said, “We demand that the Trinidadian Government do justice and that this crime that attacks not only women, but also Venezuelans, does not go unpunished. Fundamental human rights are inviolable.”