In November, the community of Nosara accomplished something amazing, pulling together in response to recent attacks against women in a way that landed one of the attackers behind bars and sent out a loud cry: this kind of behavior will not be accepted!
That has not always been the case in a community where machismo and fear of how bad publicity might affect tourism run deep. In the wake of this outcry, for example, one woman related that she was attacked on the beach seven years ago and at the time she was discouraged from putting up flyers about the incident because it would be bad for tourism. It seems that now that attitude is changing with the realization that hiding the reality and letting such problems continue would be much worse for tourism, whereas banding together as a community makes people feel safe.
In fact, Meagen Walsh, who was attacked from behind and drug into the jungle on November 7, told The Voice that because of the amazing support she received from the community, she didn’t feel in danger; instead she feels safe. Even more so now since on November 12, she and other witnesses positively identified the attacker in a lineup, providing enough proof that the man, with last names Perez Vallegjos, age 29 from Puerto Carrillo, will remain in prison until his trial. This, considering the frustrating tendency for suspects to be released pending trial, is another reason to feel proud as a community.
The local police force has received praise in light of the attacks, many commenting that they responded quickly to calls and did what they were supposed to do. However, the woman who was attacked by a 16-year-old Tico near the Baker’s beach entrance on October 29 was not as thrilled with how the police treated her. She told The Voice that when she went to the police, they did not offer her any privacy. She had to recount the details of what had happened in the open, with anyone and everyone around listening in. A bit more consideration should have been shown considering the nature of what she had been through.
The boy was apprehended by the police and taken to the district attorney (fiscalia) in Nicoya, but since he is a minor, he was identified and released. Minors are treated differently by the law because their personality development is not yet complete so consideration is given to the possibility that they can repent and change if society gives them a second chance.
Although it’s frustrating to some that he was released, that doesn’t mean that he’s getting off without any consequence. According to the district attorney’s press department, he is the main suspect in the case, which continues under investigation. In addition, many in the community know who he is and have expressed their indignation, hopefully leaving a deep impression on him as well as on any others who might have a mentality to do such a thing.
As a community, we can’t let women continue to be the victims of any sort of violence. The next attack could be against your wife, mother, sister, daughter or friend.With enough voices united against such behavior, the community will continue to transform and become an ever-safer place for all to feel secure and live together in peace.