I am breaking the usual pattern of this blog to share with you one of the most outrageous things happening in Romania at the moment, in front of the closed eyes of the Romanian justice system. While I am no journalist, I spent a few days reading as many articles as I could, gathering data in order to put the story together as accurate and as exhaustive as possible. Also because I am not a journalist, my personal opinions will be all over the text but please, don’t let them bias you. Try to ignore them and form your own.
The reason I took the time to research and write about this in English is because I strongly believe it is a story that needs to be heard by as many people as possible. The more the exposure, the bigger the pressure for justice to be made. Please do help me share it, spread the word about it.
It was the evening of N ovember 10, 2014. Raluca, 18, was waiting for the 6.30 pm bus to take her home to her village, Muntenii de Sus, located 5 km away from Vaslui, where she is going to high school. On that particular evening she had finished school one hour earlier than usual, therefore she was early for the bus. She decided to spend her waiting time sitting on a bench in the park nearby.
At one point, Silviu Burada, 21, passed by. He lives in Văleni, which is right next to Muntenii de Sus, Raluca’s village. They’d known each other for quite a while, so when Silviu Burada offered to give Raluca a ride home, she accepted.
Silviu Burada was accompanied by another friend, Paul Burlacu, 28. Raluca was not suspicious at all until the point when they reached her village, Muntenii de Sus, but S.B. didn’t stop the car. When she became inquisitive, S.B. motivated his action by claiming he would drop by Paul Burlacu first, in Văleni, the next village, then he will return to Muntenii de Sus to drop her.
But this never happened. What actually happened was that S.B. stopped the car on an empty field near Văleni, where he called few more people: Silviu Avădanei, 22, Petrică Boloboceanu, 23, Ionuț Boicu, 21, Rotaru Alin, 18.
S.B. was the one that undressed Raluca against her will and the first to rape her. His friends took turns in raping her in all possible ways. She was begging each of them to save her but none of them had mercy.
When they put her in the car she hoped it would be the end of it and that they would drop her somewhere from where she could go home. But the beasts had other plans. They drove to another empty field and one more friend, Ioan Surleac, 20, was invited to join the party. Raluca was raped all over again by the seven men.
At one point she managed to get hold of her mobile phone and dialed the first number in her phone book. She only managed to scream for help before her mobile phone was snatched away.
Her scream for help was nevertheless heard by the person that was called and he alerted mutual friends, who then alerted the parents.
Raluca was raped for three hours straight by the seven men. She passed out several times and the rapists brought her back to conscience each time by pouring alcohol on her. Her passing out never made them stop, just threaten her to stop faking she was sick or she would be beaten. During these three hours there were 60 missed calls on Raluca’s mobile phone, from the worried parents, friends and colleagues.
The seven rapists only stopped when they had enough. They then put her in the car and dropped her home, warning her not to tell a soul or she would be in trouble.
She did tell her parents though and they took her to the police and to the hospital.
You might think that this is where the story ends, with the criminals being arrested and punished accordingly, like in any civilised country, part of the European Union even, in the year of god 2015, when robots are streaming life from Mars and so on.
Well, not exactly. The seven men were taken into custody, indeed. On April 9, 2015, the judge GEORGIANA MOLDOVAN placed into house arrest three of the criminals, the ones that admitted to be guilty. Shortly after, the other four, who claimed they had the girl’s consent, were also placed into house arrest by another judge, VIOREL MUNTEANU. The motivation was that it is discriminatory to apply different treatment for the same crime and that NONE of the seven men represented a danger for the society.
In the meantime, Silviu Burada’s mother, Dorina Burada, started a Facebook page where she was asking people to come and share dirt about Raluca, in an attempt to prove that Raluca was slutty anyway, and that her son doesn’t deserve to go to prison for “ten minutes of pleasure”. What’s worse is that the local people are indeed backing up the gang of the seven men. For them, the girl is guilty because she had sex with other men before, she accepted to get in the car with seven men and so on and so forth. A team of journalists went to the village to ask for locals’ opinions and their statements are amazingly ignorant and sexist. My two cents for them: even a prostitute can be raped. It doesn’t matter how much sex someone has on daily basis and with how many people. If you do not have that someone’s consent, you are raping her.
There is a lot to say about the two judges, GEORGIANA MOLDOVAN and VIOREL MUNTEANU. They have been, obviously, bought. Romania is a country where everything has a price, from a driver’s licence to someone’s life. Romania is the country where politicians are paid peanuts yet they have fabulous fortunes. Romania is the country where a huge number of senators, ministers and mayors are under investigation or under arrest, while still being senators, ministers and mayors.
The proof the two judges have been bought lies in the very fact they both changed jobs and towns. While VIOREL MUNTEANU was promoted, GEORGIANA MOLDOVAN took a different path and she is now a teacher for court clerks and jurists.
The local press kept writing on this matter and the articles were mostly prompted not by the faulty justice (quite common in Romania) but by the cocky behaviour of the rapists when waiting for the hearings. Always smiling and acting confident, swearing at the journalists, even threatening them to run them over with their cars.
This inconsistency between the crime and the behaviour was what attracted the national mass media attention. Articles in the national press started to flow and more people learned about the horrible rape.
On July 20, Adevarul started a national campaign, “Dreptate pentru fata violată din Vaslui” (Justice for the raped girl in Vaslui) to raise awarness.
As a result, people started showing support through Facebook and the president and the prim minister were requested to react. Facebook’s platform is used to organise a street protest against the decision to place the seven criminals in house arrest.
What is more important is that previous victims are coming forward and we are utterly disgusted to discover how many girls were raped and their rapists were not punished or they were lightly punished.
Also, a very popular talk show, that in their blind chase for audience disclosed Raluca’s identity, might be fined or even cancelled. I wish for the latter, that show is insensitive and filthy.
I do hope all this noise is not for nothing.
I want the bastards to rot in jail, where they belong, I want the two judges to be held responsible, severely fined and punished, fired with an interdiction to ever work in any field related to justice and made to pay a hell lot of money to Raluca.
I want judges to learn a lesson and think twice when selling verdicts.
I want victims not to let themselves intimidated and find the power to come forward.
I want the families of the victims to give all their support and persuade the victims come forward.
I want the media to put this kind of pressure on all wrong doings because this is what media is for.
I want people to back up with the media and use their voice until they are heard.
I know that even if all this is done, wrong will not always be corrected but at least we can show we are awake and we can stand for one another if the case. We can attempt to show that Romania is OURS not THEIRS.
But most of all I wish with all my heart for Raluca to be able to find her strength and slowly overcome this. It will be a long, painful process, I am sure of it. Healing your soul takes a lot of time and energy.
But, Raluca, this rape doesn’t define you or who you will become. Stay strong. You are above this.