From left, Queen Ifrica and Richie Stephens.
Krista Henry, Staff Reporter
The brutal violation of another human being through rape and incest is a topic that many are uncomfortable discussing. However, for many entertainers, it is a topic they are trying to shed light upon through their music.
In an study conducted between 1998 and 2000, reported on nationreport.com, Jamaica was placed sixth in the world for the number of rapes per 1000 persons in the population. Rape and incest are daily realities for many Jamaicans.
According to an article published in The Gleaner on October 30, 2005, at least one woman is raped in Jamaica every 12 hours. The statistics also revealed that, for 2005, there were 606 reported cases of rape and only 275 arrests.
According to www.unicef.org/jamaica/violence, Jamaican children were the victims of 70 per cent of all sexual crimes reported in 2004. The statistics show that 959 children were reported as sexually abused and 517 raped, with 409 victims of carnal abuse (statutory rape) and 33 being victims of incest. All the reports of sexual crimes were of girls only, indicating that additional attention needs to be paid to the reporting of sexual assault against boys.
The plight of the nation's children and women has reached the ears of entertainers, who can vocalise this pain, with a number of songs addressing the issue of sexual crime. Included are Raper Man by Warrior King, Bun Rapist by Ce'Cile and Cut Dem Off by Richie Stephens. Sizzla Kalonji touches on the topic in Haffi Get Di (Nah Rape), which speaks to having to get sex but refusing to force a woman in to have sex with him. He sings, "Can't rush di ting/ Betta yu gwaan guh check yu ego/Wait deh likkle woman dat mean seh/ Dat yu evil/Dat mean a dat yu gwaan wid/ Round di season/ Bwoy yu get beaten".
Another sexual abuse song making its rounds and leaving its impact is Queen Ifrica's Daddy, which looks at incest and abuse, speaking to the fundamental issues of human rights and children's rights. In the chorus Ifrica sings, "Daddy don't touch me there/ I'm gonna tell on you one day I swear/Can't you see I'm scared?/ You're supposed to be my father." She continues, "Every day I have to wonder why my Daddy had to be the one to take away my innocence/Sometimes, I wanna die, seems no one cares for me and it's evident/that something must be wrong with me".
Ifrica warns the mothers to look for their children, even with the pastors who would take the male children as 'brawta.' According to Queen Ifrica the song came about due to the grim reality of countless children. "I visit a lot of community projects and have dialogue with a lot of children. This topic keeps coming through. I'm putting a voice to an issue the people have been skipping around," Ifrica said.
The reaction to the song, Ifrica claims, has been overwhelming in negative and positive ways. There are sceptics who question the artiste's initiative in singing about incest, feeling that it is a topic that should be swept under the rug. However, the song, besides berating those fathers who molest their children, also provides word of support for those going through such a heart-wrenching situation.
Ifrica sings: "When you feel like giving up/Just shake it off and live it up/The most high will deliver you/Wipe da tears deh from yu eye/Get the wings of confidence to make you fly ... Tribulations a jus' fe mek yu stronger/Love yusself an' it I help yu fi get over."
Ifrica says that she has been getting calls from across the globe from persons praising the song and relating personal experiences to her. She says, "we've actually literally saving lives ... people calling who have attempted suicide or were at the point of it who have called and talked about their situation."
While rumours have been floating around that Ifrica may have been through a similar situation she said that she was lucky to have not been molested, but there are many who were not as fortunate.
Radio personality, Jennifer Small, aka 'Jenny Jenny', loves to play songs centered on serious issues such as rape and incest and is known to play a segment dedicated solely to just that. She told The Sunday Gleaner "I love dem and feel that we need to have more of them. People are often ashamed and embarrassed to talk about a topic like this. I definitely endorse them and would love for people to give these songs more studio time. More often than not these artistes talk bout wine up, but it gives balance to the artiste and sends a message to the society".