Oksana Makar, the 19-year-old (some sources say 18, but more say 19) who was raped, strangled, and set on fire in Mykolayev, Ukraine, has been airlifted to Donetsk for more specialized treatment.
If you didn’t see it before, the general story is this:
Makar met two men at a bar, and they all left together. On the way home, they decided to stop in at a friend’s apartment, where they had more to drink and Makar went to bed. According to the confession video of 23-year-old Evgenii Krasnoshchek (a transcript is here), the men then took turns raping her, and decided to strangle her to keep her from going to the police. 23-year-old Maksim Prisyazhnyuk, who lived in the apartment, said that they needed to get rid of the body before his parents found out. So they took her to a nearby construction site where she burned all night (in the confession, Krasnoshek is adamant that he did not set Makar on fire, or intend for her to burn, but this is debatable given the extent of her injuries). They left her for dead, but she lived, and a passer-by found her in the morning. She had not lost consciousness, and was able to tell her story. The men were arrested.
Prisyazhnyuk is the son of the former head of the district administration of the Elenetskaya Mykolayiv region. Artem Pogosyan is the son of the former attorney of the central district of Mykolayiv. They were released immediately and treated as witnesses, while Krasnoshchek remained in custody. The police have said that this is because there just wasn’t enough evidence, and that Pogosyan took all the blame and said the others were innocent, but, to be quite honest, that is total bullshit. The confession video of Krasnoshchek makes it quite clear that all three were heavily involved. Meanwhile, according to Makar’s mother (Tatyana Surovitskaya), an official came to question her, and tried to pressure Makar into saying that it was consensual.
Let me repeat this.
The medical examiner, faced with the fact that some local politicans’ kids had raped and attempted to murder and then burned a young woman alive, stood over her hospital bed and questioned her moral fiber.
According to her mother, the official began by saying confrontationally, “Well, what, are we just lying here? Come on, start talking.”
She had 3rd and 4th degree burns on 55% of her body. Her kidneys and liver were beginning to fail. Her injuries were extensive enough to require both feet and an arm to be amputated. She had just been through something that the majority of the world cannot even imagine the horrors of, and an official stood over her bed and suggested that she was asking for it.
Суровицкая говорит, что по направленности вопросов она поняла, что следователь предрасположен к тому, что девушка добровольно согласилась на близость.
And in English:
Surovitskaya said that because of the way the questions were focused, she realized that the investigator had already decided that she [Makar] voluntarily consented to the intimacy.
The fucking intimacy.
As if we don’t have enough proof that the world skews heavily anti-woman, the fact that Makar went into an apartment gives people the right to rape her, try to kill her, and leave her to burn. No wonder rape victims don’t come forward. Even on what may end up being their deathbed, rape victims are expected to shoulder blame.
And it’s not just the medical examiner.
Of course, it’s tough to hear that your husband and the father of your child has done something monstrous. Krasnoshchek’s wife has come to his defense, which — I can’t judge. I don’t know what she’s going through, what she’s been through, what she believes or doesn’t believe, what kind of a relationship she has with him. I can imagine that she wants to protect her family and her child, and that the sudden glaring attention is overwhelming. But that does not excuse her apparently knee-jerk reaction to blame Makar. Makar. Who is in critical condition and laid on hot coals, smoldering, for hours until somebody found her.
Inga Krasnoshchek said:
Возможно, он там и находился, я не знаю. Возможно, все это действительно случилось, но почему все сваливают на него? Виноватыми могут оказаться все четверо, включая девушку. Почему она туда пошла? Ее же никто не заставлял! Сейчас говорят, что он один изверг. Есть люди, которые считают, что эта девочка не такая святая, как из нее делают. Может, она спровоцировала их.
Maybe he was there, I don’t know. Maybe it really happened, but why is everybody jumping all over him? The guilt can be spread around here, to all four people, including the girl. Why did she go there? Nobody forced her! Everybody is now saying that he alone is a monster. There are people that believe that this girl is not as saintly as she is made out to be. Maybe she provoked them.
Going into an apartment does not merit this. In no way could it ever. Maybe she provoked them. Maybe she spit at them, or hit them, or said something hurtful. What non-monsters do when they are provoked is they disagree, or ask a person to leave. There is nothing that she could have done that would have warranted this.
And the fact that that we live in a world where this is a possible conclusion is sickening.
In the meantime, rumors are swirling about a similar situation in Odessa in late 2010. A woman in her late teens was found burned and raped, and the case was unsolved. Krasnoshchek, it seems, is from Odessa. Except probably not. There is a Evgenii Krasnoshchek in Odessa, who is also 23, but it’s a different guy. The articles regarding Krasnoshchek do bring up a good point, though, and that is this: the video is incredibly chilling. The lack of emotion, the fact that after they dumped Makar they had a beer together, the “I was drunk” explanation, the completely nonchalant way in which the crime is detailed; the only time that Krasnoshchek seems upset in the video is when he finds out that Makar is actually still alive. It is very much not out of the realm of possibility that this is a person for whom violence is not a big deal. I would not be surprised if I found out that he had committed violent crimes in the past; I also believe that he would do it again, based on his testimony. I may be wrong. Watch the video.
There is some good news, though. Since the story has garnered attention (mostly throughout Ukraine, but it is spreading to Europe and Russia), the political associations of the accused have lost most, if not all, of their power. They were picked back up and are being held, and it looks like they will be treated fairly, despite their influential connections.
The president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, directed the head of the V.K. Gusak Institute of Emergency and Reconstructive Surgery in Donetsk, Emil Fistal, to see to Makar’s burns, which is how she ended up being airlifted to Donetsk.
Why does this matter?
Under Yanukovych, corruption has gotten worse in Ukraine. He has made a point to be “anti-corruption,” but he has made negative progress, and there are those that think that he is all words and no action on this (don’t forget, those with power under a corrupt system have the most to lose when corruption is conquered).
So we have a horrendous case of obvious corruption. When public pressure mounted, Yanukovych took a stand against it, and was forced to act against it. I may be overly naive about this, but what this says to me is that people do listen. Public outcry does matter. Which reminds me, sign the petition. Keep the pressure on.
The other good news is that Makar is a fighter. Her condition is “stable critical,” which basically means that for now, she’s stable, but she could plunge at any moment. Given how terrible her prognosis looked on Thursday, that is amazing. They didn’t think she’d be able to be transported anywhere, but they did it, and it went well. They are going to do a skin operation on Saturday. This woman has been through absolute Hell. But she’s fighting. And her mother is fighting for her.
Another bit of good news: her mother’s bank account has swelled to 100,000 griven, or around $15,000, from donations. If you are in Ukraine, you can send money directly to her account through PrivatBank, name: Суровицкая Татьяна Романовна, card number: 6762 4620 5746 3702. This number has been reported by several reputable news organizations.
If you are not in Ukraine, we have set up a fund here to collect money and send it on (using an American bank account with a cardholder in Ukraine, who will withdraw the money and then do an intra-country transfer. It’s clumsy, but it’s the best option that we’ve found). You can do that through this account. You should be able to make a donation instantly using a credit card. There have been some reports of trouble with the website, although it appears that if you access it from a computer (instead of a phone), it is more likely to work. If you still have trouble, please try again after a short time, that has fixed the issue for people. Please give if you can, even a dollar.
FEMEN held a rally for Makar, and even though I have mixed feelings on the group, they are really great at bringing attention to a cause. They also yelled something that has been echoing in my head for days now: Оксана, живи! Оксана, живи! Оксана, живи!
Live, Oksana. Live.