It is a horrible story that our colleagues from Nieuwsblad relate this Tuesday. On May 15, Julie *, a 14-year-old teenager from Gavere (East Flanders), was to meet a friend at the cemetery in Ghent, the city where her mother lives. Except that once there, it is not a boy who was expecting the young girl but five teenagers.
And the situation quickly escalated. Julie was assaulted before being raped by her five attackers who also filmed the scene. Images that were then posted on social networks. Four days after the incident, Julie died.
“Maybe I could have done something”
The parents of the young victim had not been informed of anything. It was after the death of the teenager and through the mother of a friend, in whom Julie had confided, that they learned the terrible truth. “She didn’t tell us about it,” her dad regrets today. “I always told my kids that they could come talk to me if something was wrong, that I would listen to them even if I didn’t agree. If only she had told me something about it, maybe I could have done something ”.
Today, nothing really makes sense for him. Her only, and minimal, comfort was seeing that the farewell ceremony for her baby girl had been attended by about a hundred people on the Internet. “It’s the only good thing on the web. Because we see to what horror this can lead and the impact it can have on young people. “
Daddy’s world fell apart when the police came to his door to tell him the terrible news. “I had called them myself because I was worried,” he explains to our colleagues. A worry linked to the loss of joy of her daughter who was struggling with dark thoughts. “In the end, we could have made an appointment with a therapist. She left the house two days before her suicide… ”
Two days after Julie’s funeral, the police showed up at daddy’s home again. This time, officers left with the teenager’s laptop and tablet so they could investigate the assault. An investigation that has borne fruit since the five attackers (three minors and two adults) have been identified.
The three minors were placed and the two adults arrested. They are accused of rape, indecent assault as well as taking and distributing images that could endanger personal integrity. The Ghent prosecutor also added an aggravating circumstance, namely that the facts resulted in the death of their victim.
“I know my daughter had been struggling for some time. She needed help and unfortunately it took far too long for her to get it. She struggled so hard and these facts and images were the last straw for her. A 14 year old girl can’t go through something like this. She saw her whole world fall apart. Without these people, she would have been there. All I can hope for now is justice. “
* The first name of the teenager has been replaced to preserve the anonymity of the young victim.
The telephone help line of the Suicide Prevention Center: 0800 32 123