Pitcairn is an island of rapists who have been exonerated by their victims
Categories: WorldBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/pitcairn-is-an-island-of-rapists-who-have-been-exonerated-by-their-victims
In 2004, the world community was shocked by the wild news for the 21st century. Half of the male population of Pitcairn Island, located in the South Pacific, has been accused of raping minors. The most scandalous thing was not even the egregious fact of the crime itself, but the fact that the islanders, including the victims themselves, did not understand why their abusers were tried and sentenced to prison terms.
The small island of Pitcairn, with an area of only 4.6 square kilometers, is the only overseas territory remaining in Great Britain, and its inhabitants are subjects of the Queen. A total of 47 people live on the island, 14 of whom are men and teenagers, accused of raping minors. 6 of them received real prison sentences. To understand why Pitcairn became an island of rapists and why their arrest was perceived by the community with hostility, you need to dive into history.
Most of the Pitcairn community are relatives, descendants of English sailors who found themselves on the island at the end of the 18th century, and not entirely of their own free will. Many people know the history of the settlement of the island by Europeans, as they have written a lot about it and made more than one feature film.
On April 28, 1789, a riot broke out on His Majesty's ship Bounty, en route to Jamaica from the island of Tahiti with breadfruit seedlings. The reason for it is not exactly known, but historians believe that the crew of the three-masted sailboat was unhappy that the captain forced them to take care of delicate agricultural cargo.
Most likely, the sailors who visited paradise Tahiti with its fantastic nature and affordable women did not want to continue the tedious voyage across half the globe and decided to stay on the fertile islands of Polynesia. The captain of the ship, William Bligh, and 18 of his supporters were disarmed and landed in a dinghy near the island of Tonga.
The rebels themselves, having thrown overboard precious breadfruit seedlings, headed back to Tahiti, where they planned to have fun. For a while, the sailors enjoyed the company of Tahitian women and snow-white beaches, but soon it dawned on them that the idyll could not last long and they had to get out of the island, to which the punitive expedition was about to arrive.
The opinions of the Bounty crew were divided — some of the rebellious crew sought to escape as quickly as possible, and some wanted to stay on the island. As a result, 16 people refused to board the ship and stayed with the hospitable aborigines, and 9 sailors went out into the ocean again, taking with them 6 Tahitian men, 11 women and one child.
The fate of the rebels who remained on the Tahiti was unenviable — 2 of them died of tropical diseases, and 14 soon fell into the hands of punishers from the Royal Navy. Three of them were immediately strung up on the yards, and 11 went to serve indefinite hard labor in Australia — a place far from as fertile as Tahiti.
As for the fugitives on the "Bounty", they, having been pushing around the South Pacific for some time, chose the small island of Pitcairn. The leader of the rebels, helmsman Christian Fletcher, ordered to burn the Bounty immediately after going ashore in order to destroy the main evidence of his crime and save the newly minted colonists from the temptation to flee from the island.
I must say that Pitcairn is hardly a paradise like Tahiti. Most of the rocky island was covered with impenetrable thickets, and only reptiles and birds were found from game on a piece of land. The settlers themselves were also not sugar and immediately after landing began to celebrate this event, destroying the last stocks of rum from the stocks of their ship.
After copious libations, fights followed, during which sailors and aborigines used knives and pistols without hesitation. Very soon there were only women from Tahiti and the only white man on the island — John Adams. He became the patriarch of the colony, which consisted of ladies brought to the Bounty and their children, whose fathers were English sailors.
Interestingly, most of the descendants of the rebels, who were mestizos, considered and continue to consider themselves descendants of the leader of the rebellion, Christian Fletcher, and in honor of his name they bear the surname Christian. Today, the islanders live in a big family, sacredly preserve the ancient traditions and the memory of their ancestors.
They speak a puzzling dialect of English, diluted with Polynesian words, which many linguists tend to consider the Pitcairn language. The way of life on the island is very specific, since almost all of its inhabitants are relatives. To avoid degeneration, marriages are allowed only between second cousins, and the sexual life of islanders has traditionally begun at the age of 12 for two centuries, as on many other islands of Polynesia.
Life on one of the most isolated islands on the planet, located 14,855 km from the UK and 3,000 km from the nearest airport, flows slowly and steadily. Pitcairns grow fruit trees, cultivate vegetable gardens and fish in the ocean. The only settlement on the island is Adamstown, named after the last surviving sailor from the Bounty — a dull and unpromising place, so young people prefer to move from the island to New Zealand, which is located closest.
No one knew about what was happening on the most secluded island in the world and about Pitcairn was remembered only after the release of another adventure film or during geography lessons at school. And then in 2004, this piece of land in the boundless ocean was talked about everywhere. It turns out that lawlessness, debauchery and violence reign on the island, and no one celebrates British laws.
Tanya, a 25-year-old Pitcairn resident with the "rare" Christian name for the island, described her point of view on what is happening in an interview with the publication "Australia":
Matthew Forrb, the acting governor of Pitcairn, but who visits the island occasionally, angrily dismisses these accusations. The UK is actually investing millions of pounds in the island and will continue to do so. The official quite reasonably notes that if the Pitcairn project was going to be closed, then funding would have been stopped in the first place.
As Tanya Christian rightly pointed out, the inhabitants of the island were not interested in London for two centuries, and this could continue for as long. But in 1999, a British police officer, Gail Cox, arrived on the island — a meticulous, ambitious and loyal subject of Her Majesty.
From conversations with islanders, Cox learned that girls on the island begin to sleep with men at the age of 12 and no one sees anything shameful in this. Pitcairn women told their life stories to the guest without a second thought and later they regretted their simplicity.
Gail Cox decided to bring the island's criminal community to light and sent a multi-page report full of details to London. In the capital of the metropolis, they were shocked by the news from the periphery and commissions and investigative groups immediately began to come to the island.
First of all, laws protecting children and women were adopted for the islanders, and after that, the police took a close look at the male population. The result of the investigation was impressive — 14 men of different ages, including Adamstown Mayor Steve Christian (again unexpectedly!), were charged immediately under 6 articles of the Criminal Code of the Kingdom.
At the same time, British law enforcement officers surpassed themselves — some episodes that appeared in the case occurred 30-40 years ago. It was not difficult to investigate the case of the Pitcairn villains, since the criminals, their victims and witnesses were in one tiny village of 23 houses.
The most innocuous crime on the list of charges was "gross violation of public order", and the most serious was "rape". In particular, it turned out that Mayor Steve Christian raped a 12-year-old girl at the age of 15, after which he had several more similar episodes.
Needless to say, none of the accused admitted their guilt, and the victims of the crimes were extremely dissatisfied with the results of the investigation. To deprive the island of half of the male population meant simply to cease the existence of a community with more than two centuries of history.
Pitcairns turned out to be well-dressed and, despite their remoteness from civilization, showed themselves to be skilled Internet users. A large-scale campaign was launched online to justify the men of the island, while many good lawyers joined it. The women, who were persuaded to come forward with accusations without warning about the consequences, retracted their testimony and withdrew their statements.
They began to give interviews to the press in order to tell the world how everything really happened and why there is no blame on the men of the island. For example, 22-year-old Charlene Griffiths (there is on the island and not Christiana!), a mother of four children, told the story of her "rape" in this way:
In general, before the appearance of Gail Cox on the island, there was no crime there. All disputes were resolved peacefully, in a neighborly way, and serious crimes occurred a couple of times in a century. Pitcairn didn't even have a courthouse and a prison, as it was unnecessary.
Now it turned out that the islanders are a criminal and spoiled people who urgently need to be "put in order". The court was decided to make a demonstration in Adamstown and its sessions lasted for six weeks. Of course, all adult islanders were present in the courtroom, for which the largest room of the island was allocated — the building of the public council. This is not surprising, because if all the accused were convicted, the colony was threatened with death, and Pitcairn again, as 200 years ago, turned into an uninhabited island.
The presence of men on the island has always been vital for the island. It's not even about hard work in the gardens and vegetable gardens, but the fact that the surroundings of the island are not navigable. Ocean liners can anchor at a distance from the reefs of Pitcairn and men have always gone for mail and provisions in large and sturdy boats, with oars, and later with motors. Women can't do such raids and would simply have to leave the island.
The trial was not easy and the anchor from the Bounty, which was placed at the entrance to the meeting house, had not seen such a heat of passion since the mutiny on the ship. The islanders were extremely belligerent and even tore off British flags from the quad bikes of the judges, on which they moved around the island.
One day, the servants of the law, in general, were almost beaten. While all 47 residents of Pitcairn were going through the most difficult period of their lives, the judges staged a noisy party on their ship, several pictures of which were accidentally leaked online. The photo shows how two male judges, being pretty drunk, dressed up in women's clothes and danced on the deck. Of course, it was perceived on Pitcairn as blasphemy.
Only six men were sentenced to prison terms, and eight got off with suspended sentences. The criminals were taken to New Zealand, where they immediately became known as "prisoners of custom". An appeal was immediately filed and the best lawyers of Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia took up the case.
The main point that lawyers pressed was that Britain had not carried out the formal actions necessary for a full-fledged change in legislation for two hundred years. In this regard, Pitcairn men could only be judged according to the laws of the 18th century, in which the community on the island was founded. According to these laws, sexual intercourse with a minor that occurred by mutual consent is not considered a crime.
The lawyers failed to get the men acquitted, but thanks to the intervention of human rights defenders and public organizations, their prison term was shortened. Two years later, all the participants in the high-profile case returned home and, except for one, Brian Young, were released. Yang, who received 6 years and 6 months, spent two more years in a specially equipped prison on the island for him and, after being in captivity for a total of four years, was also released.
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