[Trigger warning for rape, strangulation, burning, victim-blaming, and slut-shaming; but at least corruption isn’t playing such a big part]
Oksana Makar, the 18-year-old who was raped, strangled, and left on top of burning embers in Mykolayiv, Ukraine, has spent this week in a burn hospital in Donetsk, undergoing surgeries and holding onto life. The most recent surgeries have been to remove burned parts from her back, save one of her hips, and use artificial skin to close up some of her wounds. Thus far, her surgeries have been successful.
Her lungs are looking better. One of the most disgusting facts of this case is that while her skin was burning, her lungs were getting pneumonia from the cold air. They saved her right leg and the hip (and hope to save the other). But she is still on a ventilator, and they can’t tell yet whether the suffocation and trauma led to head injuries.
According to the main doctor, Emil Fistal, Makar’s situation is grim. She has been doing very well, but that does not change the fact that her situation has been dire from the start. She is generally stable, but it will be a very long recovery. “Ð’Ð¾ Ð²ÑÑÐºÐ¾Ð¼ ÑÐ»ÑƒÑ‡Ð°Ðµ, Ð¼Ñ‹ Ð½Ð° ÑÑ‚Ð¾ Ð¾Ñ‡ÐµÐ½ÑŒ Ð½Ð°Ð´ÐµÐµÐ¼ÑÑ, Ð²ÐµÐ´ÑŒ ÑÐµÐ¹Ñ‡Ð°Ñ ÑˆÐ°Ð½ÑÐ¾Ð² Ð½Ð° Ð¶Ð¸Ð·Ð½ÑŒ Ñƒ Ð½ÐµÐµ ÐºÑ€Ð°Ð¹Ð½Ðµ Ð¼Ð°Ð»Ð¾.” “At least,” he says, “we really hope [that it will be a long recovery], because right now her chance of surviving is very small.” But a chance remains.
According to the Komsomolskaya Pravda, the crime was not an accident or spontaneous – they have a source from inside law enforcement who says that Prisyazhnyuk was out to get Makar, possibly because of jealousy, maybe out of anger that she rejected him, it’s unclear. According to their source, Prisyazhnyuk found Krasnoshchek online, and they planned out the crime, possibly for money. Prisyazhnyuk covered his tracks, deleted everything from his computer, and was did not meet Makar at the bar but waited at home. The third man, Pogosyan, of whom the least is written, was apparently not supposed to be a part of this, but got swept along. The official makes it clear that that doesn’t absolve him of the crime, but he apparently did not rape Makar and instead, begged the other two to stop, at which point they said that he was either with them or against them. He chose to be with them.
I know that this is the point where Susan-the-feminist is supposed to say that I hate him just as much as I hate the other two. But instead, Susan-the-mom is crying about this. That kid. He screwed up, so badly. He had a chance to do the right thing. And he didn’t. He did the very, very, very wrong thing. And yet my heart breaks.
As of right now, there are other reports that say that two, not all three, of the men raped Makar, although names have not been provided.
On the not-so-horrible side of things, there has been a crackdown on the corruption that allowed for two of the men (Pogosyan and Prisyazhnyuk) to go free from the start. Three police officers in Mykolayiv have been fired, as well as two police prosecutors. All in all, charges were brought against 9 people.
Which is great news. And yet, I’m going to say it, I feel for some of those that are feeling the brunt of this, as well. They did a terrible thing, but the fact of the matter is that they were following the rules of a corrupt system. I think everything (well, almost everything) is more complicated than good vs. bad.
It almost feels like by convicting several of these officials in Mykolayiv, it then absolves the rest of Ukraine from the crime. But the officials were not acting in a vacuum. They did the wrong thing, and it’s well past time when corruption was dealt with. At the same time, there is a danger here of heads rolling, and then everybody gets to pretend like that solves the problem. It does not solve the problem.
Meanwhile, as with all big stories, a backlash has grown. Makar’s mother, Tatiana Surovitskaya, has been rumored to have received 1.5 million griven (about 200,000 USD). According to reports, she is drinking too much! She invited somebody to her room in the hospital! She is not spending the money on her daughter’s treatment!
I wish I had an eloquent way to frame my response to this. I do not. STFU.
You don’t get to choose when shitty things happen to you. You don’t get to wait until you are in a stable, emotionally healthy period for tragedy to strike. I know shitall about Surovitskaya’s drinking habits, but I know something about mine, which is that I rarely drink. You bet your ass if my daughter had gone through what her daughter went through I’d be pouring myself a drink. And if she relies more heavily on alcohol to deal with emotional hardships, is she supposed to suddenly lose the coping mechanisms that she has available?
And oh no! She invited somebody into her hospital room!
ÐžÐ½Ð¸ Ð¶Ðµ Ñ Ð²Ð¾Ð·Ð¼ÑƒÑ‰ÐµÐ½Ð¸ÐµÐ¼ Ð³Ð¾Ð²Ð¾Ñ€ÑÑ‚ Ð¾ ÑÐºÐ°Ð½Ð´Ð°Ð»Ðµ Ð² Ñ…Ð¸Ñ€ÑƒÑ€Ð³Ð¸Ñ‡ÐµÑÐºÐ¾Ð¼ Ð¾Ñ‚Ð´ÐµÐ»ÐµÐ½Ð¸Ð¸, Ð³Ð´Ðµ Ð² Ð’Ð˜ÐŸ-Ð¿Ð°Ð»Ð°Ñ‚Ðµ â„–23 Ð»ÐµÐ¶Ð¸Ñ‚ Ð¡ÑƒÑ€Ð¾Ð²Ð¸Ñ†ÐºÐ°Ñ, ÐºÑƒÐ´Ð° Ð¼Ð°Ñ‚ÑŒ ÐžÐºÑÐ°Ð½Ñ‹ ÑÐºÐ¾Ð±Ñ‹ Ð¿Ñ‹Ñ‚Ð°Ð»Ð°ÑÑŒ Ð¿Ñ€Ð¾Ð²ÐµÑÑ‚Ð¸, ÐºÐ°Ðº Ð±Ñ‹ ÑÑ‚Ð¾ Ð¿Ð¾Ð¼ÑÐ³Ñ‡Ðµ ÑÐºÐ°Ð·Ð°Ñ‚ÑŒ, Ð²Ñ€ÐµÐ¼ÐµÐ½Ð½Ð¾Ð³Ð¾ ÑÐ¾Ð¶Ð¸Ñ‚ÐµÐ»Ñ
And in English:
They [nurses and doctors] talk indignantly about a scandal in the surgical ward, where Surovitskaya is staying in the VIP ward number 23, and where Oksana’s mother tried to let in, to put it lightly, a temporary roommate.
It is not clear who, or why, but the implication is that she is a big ol’ slut. Even if it is the worst possible thing and she has invited a strange man into the hospital room, what of it? Comfort is comfort, and I’d guess she’s in big need of it right now.
What role does etiquette play in a crisis? It is so easy to sit back from afar and wag fingers, to judge and be smug. But most of us have never been through what she’s going through, and hopefully, the vast majority of us never will have to. Give the woman a break.
And as for the money. It has been reported that money is being sent directly to the hospital by the billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, that Surovitskaya is squirreling the money that is being sent to her account for herself. Stop sending money! They say. She’s greedy! They imply.
But that’s bullshit. Sukorovitskaya may not be paying for the hospital with the money that came directly to her account. But there are going to be one gazillion expenses that have nothing to do with the direct medical bills. Even if every kopeck of every need is being paid for at the moment, Makar is going to need help for the rest of her life. She has no feet. Her arm has been amputated. Ukraine is not an easy place to live with disabilities, especially visible ones. Read this paper on disabilities in Ukraine, which was presented at a conference in 2005 in Ottawa.
Things are getting better for disabled people in Ukraine, but there is a long way to go. Even government buildings aren’t handicap accessible, and disabled people are marginalized, officially and unofficially, and in ways that make the marginalization of the disabled in America look like utopia. Equal Opportunity Employment laws exist but are either not complied with or, if they are, disabled workers are not accommodated on the job, making it nearly impossible for them to work. Or disabled workers are hired at a specific salary and then paid much less. Makar’s entire life has changed. Her mother is going to be a part of that, and they are going to need money.
And if they use the money to buy clothes, or to get cigarettes, or to pay for a fancy dinner at a restaurant – nothing in their lives is ever going to be the same. Ever again. They are going to need small comforts, as well as to take care of big expenses. Leave the woman alone. Sending $10 or $50 or a million dollars to help in a crisis does not mean that you own the person you are helping.
Makar’s mother is not the only one getting scrutinized. I’m going to go ahead and say you should skip this next part because it is really awful; I am including it, though, because it needs to be confronted. It is the quotations that are the worst.
A summary of the bullshit is in this article: “ÐžÐºÑÐ°Ð½Ð° ÐœÐ°ÐºÐ°Ñ€ – Ð¿Ñ€Ð¾ÑÑ‚Ð¸Ñ‚ÑƒÑ‚ÐºÐ°, ÐµÐµ Ð¼Ð°Ñ‚ÑŒ – ÑƒÐ³Ð¾Ð»Ð¾Ð²Ð½Ð¸Ñ†Ð°, Ð¾Ñ‚ÐµÑ† – Ð½Ð°Ñ€ÐºÐ¾Ð´Ð¸Ð»Ð»ÐµÑ€, Ð° Ð¾Ñ‚Ñ‡Ð¸Ð¼ – Ð²Ð¾Ñ€”¦” “Oksana Makar is a prostitute, her mother is a convict, her father is a drug dealer, and her stepfather is a thief.” That pretty much sums it up, I guess.
Friends and acquaintances of Makar have also come forward to talk about what kind of a person she is. And, I guess not surprisingly, people are coming forward to say that she was slutty. The logic is that she deserved it. That if you are a woman, and you go home with men, your punishment is to be raped, and strangled, and burned alive.
First, from the bartender (who is also a woman):
ÐžÐ½Ð° Ð±Ñ‹Ð»Ð° Ð¾Ñ‡ÐµÐ½ÑŒ Ð»ÐµÐ³ÐºÐ¾Ð³Ð¾ Ð¿Ð¾Ð²ÐµÐ´ÐµÐ½Ð¸Ñ Ð¸ Ð»ÑŽÐ±Ð¸Ð»Ð° “ÐºÑ€ÑƒÑ‚Ð¸Ñ‚ÑŒ” Ð¼ÑƒÐ¶Ð¸ÐºÐ¾Ð². ÐŸÐ¾Ð´Ñ…Ð¾Ð´Ð¸Ð»Ð° ÐºÐ¾ Ð²ÑÐµÐ¼ Ð¸ Ð¿Ñ€Ð¾ÑÐ¸Ð»Ð°: “Ð”Ð°Ð¹ Ð´Ð²Ð° Ñ€ÑƒÐ±Ð»Ñ Ð½Ð° ÑÐ¾Ðº, Ð¼Ð½Ðµ Ð½Ðµ Ñ…Ð²Ð°Ñ‚Ð°ÐµÑ‚ Ð½Ð° Ð¿Ð¸Ð²Ð¾”. Ð”ÐµÐ²ÑƒÑˆÐºÐ° Ð²ÐµÐ»Ð° ÑÐµÐ±Ñ Ñ€Ð°ÑÐ¿ÑƒÑ‰ÐµÐ½Ð½Ð¾. ÐŸÐ¾ÑÑ‚Ð¾ÑÐ½Ð½Ð¾ Ð¿Ð¾Ð´ÑÐ°Ð¶Ð¸Ð²Ð°Ð»Ð°ÑÑŒ Ðº Ñ€ÐµÐ±ÑÑ‚Ð°Ð¼, Ð¸Ð»Ð¸ Ð´Ð°Ð¶Ðµ ÑÑ‚Ð¾ Ð±Ñ‹Ð»Ð¸ Ð²Ð·Ñ€Ð¾ÑÐ»Ñ‹Ðµ Ð¼ÑƒÐ¶Ñ‡Ð¸Ð½Ñ‹. ÐžÐ½Ð¸ Ð¿Ð¾ÑÑ‚Ð¾ÑÐ½Ð½Ð¾ ÐµÐµ Ð¿Ñ€Ð¾Ð³Ð¾Ð½ÑÐ»Ð¸, – Ñ€Ð°ÑÑÐºÐ°Ð·Ð°Ð»Ð° ÐÐ°Ñ‚Ð°Ð»ÑŒÑ.
And in English:
She was of easy morals and liked to manipulate men. She would go up to them and ask, “give me a couple of rubles for juice, I don’t have enough money for beer.” She behaved loosely. She would always go sit next to guys, or really, they were grown men. They were constantly pushing her away.
The woman was simultaneously undergoing a slow burn of most of her body and getting pneumonia in her lungs because it was so cold outside. How is her earlier behavior, at a bar, as told by a bartender, in any way relevant? Who fucking cares if she enjoyed flirting with men?
I can’t decide whether this comes from woman-hate or if it comes from a defensive “it can’t happen to me” feeling. Either way, it is disgusting and awful.
And it’s coming from more than one woman.
Her neighbor says that she would prostitute herself for money. A “friend” who is speaking anonymously says that Makar was always borrowing money from her friends and boyfriends, and then not paying it back.
ÐœÐ½Ð¾Ð³Ð¸Ðµ, ÐºÑ‚Ð¾ Ð·Ð½Ð°ÑŽÑ‚ ÐžÐºÑÐ°Ð½Ñƒ, ÑÑ‡Ð¸Ñ‚Ð°ÑŽÑ‚, Ñ‡Ñ‚Ð¾ Ð½Ð° Ð½ÐµÐ¹ Ñ‚Ð°ÐºÐ¶Ðµ Ð»ÐµÐ¶Ð¸Ñ‚ Ð²Ð¸Ð½Ð° Ð² Ð¿Ñ€Ð¾Ð¸Ð·Ð¾ÑˆÐµÐ´ÑˆÐµÐ¼, ÐžÐ½Ð° Ð¼Ð¾Ð³Ð»Ð° ÑÐ¿Ñ€Ð¾Ð²Ð¾Ñ†Ð¸Ñ€Ð¾Ð²Ð°Ñ‚ÑŒ Ð¿Ð°Ñ€Ð½ÐµÐ¹ Ð½Ð° Ð¿Ñ€Ð¸ÑÑ‚Ð°Ð²Ð°Ð½Ð¸Ñ Ðº Ð½ÐµÐ¹. ÐÐ¾, ÐºÐ¾Ð½ÐµÑ‡Ð½Ð¾, ÐºÐ°Ðº Ð±Ñ‹ Ð¾Ð½Ð° ÑÐµÐ±Ñ Ð½Ð¸ Ð²ÐµÐ»Ð°, Ñ‚Ð°ÐºÐ¾Ð³Ð¾ ÑƒÐ¶Ð°ÑÐ° Ð½Ðµ Ð·Ð°ÑÐ»ÑƒÐ¶Ð¸Ð»Ð°! ÐœÑ‹ Ð·Ð° Ð½ÐµÐµ Ð¼Ð¾Ð»Ð¸Ð¼ÑÑ.
And in English:
Lots of people who know Oksana believe that some of the blame is on her. She could have provoked the guys to molest her. But, of course, whatever she did, she couldn’t have deserved such a horrible thing! We are praying for her.
You know what, “friend”? Fuck you and your prayers. Fuck you and your passive-aggressive bullshit slut-shaming. She deserved something, right? Just not that bad of a something. She deserved to be stalked by somebody that she had apparently turned down, have her rape and murder planned out, right? Just not the burned alive part? Or maybe not the publicity part? At what point does something move out of the realm of “deserved” and into the realm of “horrible”?
Makar is surviving. The corruption is being addressed. It could be worse – but right about now, it’s hard for me to see this as anything other than a horrible story that has spun out more and more horrible stories. Hug your loved ones extra today. And confront little injustices when you see them, confront slut-shaming and victim-blaming, because we need to make this a world in which it’s not okay, not even close, to say that somebody in Makar’s condition “deserved it” for being flirtatious.
Live, Oksana. Live.