4 important take-aways from the conviction of Britain’s most prolific rapist, Reynhard Sinaga

Of the many depressing details from the story of Reynhard Sinaga, Britain’s leading rapist yet, there are four elements that remind students of history, and others, to take the subject more seriously.

Reynhard was born into a comfortable Indonesian family. He is 24years old. He is the first of four children. He went to the United Kingdom in 2007 for his Master’s degree, which he got and began his PhD later but didn’t complete the programme.

He has been sentenced to 30years imprisonment for 136 convicted rape cases. He assaulted one of his victims for over 8hours! Many of his victims did not know they had been assaulted. But for the investigating Greater Manchester Police in the United Kingdom, who upon discovery of these victims through ‘evidence’ he had stored in his phone, notified them, and involved them in the case.

If one of his victims had not woken up during an attack, and called 999, he may have continued his assault unchecked. Also, for the fact that he was caught, many of his victims’ recollections of him was that of a nice guy; some kind of Good Samaritan who offered them a place to rest and recover after a ‘time out with the bottle,’ at a pub not far from where he lived. And a place to charge their phones too. He approached them gently and postured as a friend indeed because they saw him as a ‘friend in need.’ Then he led the mostly teens and young adult males to his place. Expanded his ‘hospitality package’ with more drinks, which of course, were spiked to induce sleep in the victims. Before sexually assaulting them.

Following the call to 999, the police responded and were led into the bizarre world of Reynhard. Investigations revealed that he recorded his assault on his two mobile phones with contents that would fill 250 DVDs! The victims were so many that the case had 4 separate trials.

What about the case echoes some of history’s timeless tunes?

First, nobody is in absolute control of any situation, despite ‘triumphant feelings’ that may wish to communicate otherwise. Reynhard did not expect any of his victim to ‘wake’ up, like the fellow whose reaction threw a spanner in his works. The story changed from then.

Second, nobody knows all there is to know about any given situation. There are always gaps in the best-organised systems because those systems, ultimately, are run by still imperfect human beings. With his otherwise fail-proof system, he had no idea recording his activities in his phones, would be the final nail on the coffin of his case, as it were. All human beings are creatures with gaps.

Speaking of gaps leads to discussions about vulnerabilities and how Good Samaritan responses have typically filled many of these gaps in the process of time. He exploited the vulnerabilities of his victims and took advantage of them. Experts have long taught that sharks go for the kill when they smell blood. It doesn’t matter how little or how much. The amount of blood does not really matter to sharks who are quick to move for the kill at the slightest whiff.

Because we have the poor and wounded with us always, we would always need the services of Good Samaritan, not clones who use the noble robes, as disguise to lure and destroy the unsuspecting. But we must continually do what we can to minimize the common vulnerabilities. It is a tough call seeing how we are all creatures wired for relationships, constantly seeking for attention and affirmation from other human beings. Still we must endeavour to protect our dignity and learn to politely decline some offers, regardless of our material conditions. Poverty and lack does not automatically translate into absence of dignity.

He was eventually caught. Which pulls up the last point. Justice is an inescapable reality. however, seemingly unlikely it looks sometimes!

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