Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Letter of the Day | Don't sanitise rape; target culprits

Published:Saturday | May 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Have you ever had a man press his body against yours without permission? Have you ever felt his weight crush your entire frame, muffling your screams? Have you ever tried to forget the stench of his smell? Cried yourself to sleep? Had dreams turned to nightmares?

Have you ever broken your skin with a razor because any other pain would be better than this? Showered a little longer because for some reason you just cannot feel clean?

If you cannot answer in the affirmative to any of the above questions, how dare you tell us to be mindful of the words we use? How dare you say that in naming our perpetrators we are being reckless, as reputations could be tarnished? Consider that for the majority of our teen years, 'respectable', 'decent' men were recklessly tarnishing us with their penises.

How dare you say, 'It's just a little sex'; 'it a gwaan from the days o' slavery'; 'they'll get over it'; and then host extravagant galas celebrating our 'Emancipation'?

When will you realise that it is your act of silencing that allows the rape of our nation's women and girls to continue? When will you realise that it is your complacency that allows these men, some reputable, to believe that they are above impunity?

When will you realise that your sweet 'Jamdung' is really sour and bitter to our girls? When will you realise that the silence is deafening, and by calling names, survivors have taken the first step (a step that has been difficult for some to do) in what could be a very painful process?

When will you see that women are people, too, and it is our right to want to preserve our bodily integrity? When will you see the need to shift and change the culture of rape in our society? When will you realise that as a people, maybe what we perhaps need is a musical wake-up call with a tambourine?


Accurate, fair reporting


Mainstream media need to report accurately and fairly. The bar on investigative journalism needs to be raised. Rape must be rape in every situation. We need to challenge our legislators to call rape by its true name, as the impact is equally devastating in every case and will not be eradicated by the sanitising of the language used to describe it.

Churches, schools and other organisations that seek to cover up acts of abuse should be held accountable, as no institution should be above the law. organisations such as the Child Development Agency, the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse, the Office of the Children's Registry, Victim Support Unit, the police force, and the director of public prosecutions should be a little more compassionate to survivors, as it is not easy to rehash every detail about rape, sexual grooming, carnal abuse and other forms of sexual violence.

If you are not bold enough to challenge the status quo around the culture of silencing and sexual violence, and allow radical social justice movements such as the Tambourine Army to continue their work in safeguarding the rights of women and girls, please shut up.