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Feb 3, 2020

Former B.D.F. Captain Shares her Personal Story

Since our first story aired about the allegations of assault, extortion and abuse at the B.D.F., the Ministry of National Security has assigned a team to investigate the reports. As the investigations take place, we were told that officers assigned to the training school were separated from the recruits before their passing out ceremony on Friday. The scale of these allegations goes back decades and they also extend beyond the training school. A former soldier who knows of this first hand is Derricia Castillo. She is a former captain of the B.D.F. and has been vocal about this misogynistic and abusive culture at the B.D.F. As we told you on Friday night, Castillo has started an online petition to ask the Human Rights Commission of Belize to investigate the allegations. In our interview, Castillo shared that the first time she experienced the sexual harassment was when she was just a trainee. She says that fortunately she reported it and it was dealt with swiftly back then. But when she was sexually assaulted and she reported the matter, the environment at the B.D.F. felt like a different place – many colleagues were cold and indifferent to what she had gone through. She says that her case isn’t the only one.

 

Derricia Castillo

Derricia Castillo, Retired Captain, B.D.F.

“The environment after that, I must say was very toxic, particularly because you try to continue working but if you smile too much you hear that she is too friendly that is why that happened or if you try to take a drink outside of camp out of working hours you hear oh that is why that has happened to her.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, they blame the victim?”

 

Derricia Castillo

“Yes. It is always victim blaming. I remember running and I used to wear leggings and I would hear ‘oh that is why that happened to hear; there is issued kit and she supposed to wear the kit.’ It is always creating an environment of where it is your fault that you caused it to happen. Even in court, a question asked by the lawyer was ‘oh, buy you are an officer, you are supposed to be strong enough to push him off so how come you did didn’t push him off? I told him outright that I am an officer but I was a victim at that time.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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