Albanian police have arrested five men for raping an underage girl over a period of four months.
The 15-year-old girl from Mirditë had been blackmailed by a 17-year-old boy. He told her that he had filmed them having sex and threatened to make the video public if she didn’t allow four other men to rape her.
The five individuals then raped her on multiple occasions between January and April 2021.
The suspects are aged between 17 and 44 years old and reside in the same region as the child. The case has been referred to the Prosecution Office in Lezhë for further action.
There have been a concerning number of cases where women and children have been coerced and threatened with the publication of intimate images and then raped.
In 2019, seven youths from Kavajë were arrested and convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl. She reported 12 boys to the police, stating they used the threat of blackmail to rape her repeatedly. One of the boys had told her he’d filmed her having sex with him and this was used as a threat against her. The ordeal lasted around four months.
Two of the boys admitted raping her while the other five denied it.
The boys’ parents had tried to keep the news of the rape out of the media and had even insulted journalists covering the trial.
Seven of the boys were sentenced to prison but they were released on appeal. Instead, they were put on probation because they had “repented” and had to continue their schooling.
The Kavajë case was even more controversial as teachers and the family were aware of the rape but didn’t report it immediately. Once the case became public, Minister Elisa Spiropalli did an interview for ERTV with the victim’s family, thus outing the identity of an underage victim of sexual abuse.
In March 2020, a 19-year-old was raped by her boyfriend who threatened to publish an intimate video of her if she didn’t have sex with his friends. She was then raped by a 17 and 18-year-old, and sexually harassed by four others.
In June 2020, two men were convicted of raping a child the previous summer. The men had threatened to leak intimate pictures of the 15-year-old and used it as a threat to allow them to rape her repeatedly.
They received 10 years in prison each, following an accelerated trial procedure.
In May 2020, a 15-year-old child was raped by the former guard of the school she attended. He filmed the rape and shared it with three other men aged 20, 16, and 15, who used it to blackmail her into raping her again.
The minor’s brother said that the four men had shared pictures and recordings of her assault. According to him, the entire neighborhood knew about the assault, but none had acted to put a stop to it.
The four men have been arrested. Reportedly, the 65-year-old denied accusations of rape, claiming that the 15-year-old had consented.
The case sparked a protest in the streets of Tirana where thousands of young people marched against sexual violence, coercion, and violence against women.
Albania has one of the highest incidences of violence against women in Europe with more than 53% of women suffering violence at least once in their lives. Femicide continues to be a regular occurrence.
In 2020, five women have been murdered by their ex or current partners. In March, a pregnant woman was stabbed 31 times before her husband killed himself. The incident took place in front of their two minor children.
Then in May, a woman who was filing for divorce from her abusive husband was murdered outside the court in Elbasan. Her husband stabbed her and then shot her with an AK-47, injuring bystanders including their son.
Local feminist groups blame the state for the stream of violent incidents that are threatening the safety of local women.