Nagra Plunkett, Assignment Coordinator
Light all dark areas! Call out the churches, politicians, community groups and schools; the matter of rape must be addressed now. So says member of parliament for West Central St James, Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, who believes that serial rapists could be on the loose.
The official figures from the police show 66 rapes in the parish between January 1 and September 22, up from 63 over the corres-ponding period last year.
However, Ffolkes-Abrahams is arguing that there have been more rapes, particularly in Granville and Retirement, but the women were scared to come forward.
"There have been rampant attacks on women, especially single females in the Pitfour Captureland area.
"There was a recent case where a young woman was being assaulted and residents peered through their windows. But the criminals displayed their guns, so nobody took the chance to call the police," claimed the member of parliament.
The Sunday Gleaner understands that an elderly woman was raped in recent weeks in the Retirement Phase Three area - a development that was started under the Operation Pride project, but which remains without basic infrastructure such as roads and street lights.
One police source told our news team that the Granville police are aware of a number of rapes in the community.
"Investigators identified and picked up a number of suspects, but witnesses were unwilling to come forward, hence there was no choice but to release them," the source said.
"However, with the cry from the nation, we hope this will motivate victims of sex crimes to come forward and report then so we can rid the society of these hoodlums," added the cop who asked not to be named.
Both Granville and Retirement are close to Irwin Point where five females, including an eight-year-old child, were raped last Monday.
"The psychological and physical impact of these brutal rapes will have a permanently damaging effect on these victims. We all need to come together to fight these attacks," said MP Ffolkes-Abrahams.
She pointed to what she described as a coarsening of the Jamaican culture, arguing that the lottery scam and murders are all symptomatic of a cancer that is not only lethal but is spreading rapidly across the parish.
"If not arrested immediately, these acts of violence will have a crippling effect on our economy."
She has called on the MPs, councillors, the police force, churches and civil society to get together to form a task force to examine and to take action against this cruel trend of violence until it is brought under control.
"We need to ensure that these dark areas are lighted and that areas where criminals may lurk are bushed out and cleared."
Additional reporting by Janet Silvera.