People living in a small Mennonite colony in Manitoba, Bolivia were frightened and confused when women began waking up in the morning in their beds, with evidence of sexual assault, but no memory of the rapes that occurred. When the community eventually discovered that a group of men had been drugging entire families in the night in order to enter their homes and rape women and girls in their beds, for years, journalist, Jean Friedman-Rudovsky covered the trial for Time magazine.
A group of nine Manitoba men, ages 19 to 43, as well as the veterinarian who had created the spray (adapted from a chemical used to anesthetize cows) used to drug the victims, went to trial. The veterinarian was sentenced to 12 years in prison, and the rapists were each sentenced to 25 years.
Friedman-Rudovsky went back to the community recently to learn how survivors and their families were coping with the trauma. Her article and corresponding documentary film, directed and shot by her brother, Noah Friedman-Rodovsky, called “The Ghost Rapes of Bolivia,” can be found at Vice.com. I spoke with her from her current home in Vietnam.
Listen to that interview below.
**Apologies — there is some static throughout this interview, due to the connection, which impacts audio quality.