Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
Female attorneys shying away from MoBay rape case
THE TWO men being held in the brutal rape of five females, including an eight-year-old girl, are to face an identification parade early this week.
The men, who, reportedly, are brothers, have been in custody since last Thursday. They were questioned for several hours on Friday.
While they try to find lawyers to represent them, highly placed sources have told The Gleaner that female attorneys-at-law in Montego Bay are shying away from the case in solidarity with the women who have been raped.
However, at least one high-profile male lawyer said he was willing to take the case "as I would only be doing my job".
The men were fingered in the rape, which has received international attention, after the five females were attacked at their home in Irwin Point, St James, last Monday night.
Angered by the untenable situation of child abuse in their country, Jamaicans in the diaspora are pulling out all the stops to take back the island from sexual offenders.
"Not only are we planning a major fund-raiser for the family of five that was brutally raped by the gunmen in Irwin Point last Monday, but we are planning a workshop for Jamaican teachers which will allow them to recognise the signs of abuse," Judith Hall, president of the Association of International Educators, New York, told The Gleaner yesterday.
The Jamaican educator said she has a fire in her belly that won't be extinguished until some kind of restorative justice is attained on behalf of the victims.
"It's best described as the fierce urgency of now."
In the last 24 hours, Hall said she stopped crying and succeeded in pulling together Jamaican expats in Florida, New York, and the United Kingdom. "The plan is to start a foundation to help to counsel and provide resources for those being affected by sexual predators."
Hall said the idea was to introduce to teachers in Jamaica what is known in the New York school system as 'mandated reporting', where teachers are able to recognise and report abuse.
"The quietness, sleeping in the classroom, anger, belligerence, and things such as loss of weight are signs that something is wrong," she stated, admitting that she was not an expert in the subject area, but pointing out that child abuse was not unique to Jamaica.
"We also need to teach the children to self-advocate when they are being abused and to speak to a trusted adult outside the family," said Hall.
The New York educator pointed out that children in Jamaica need to learn what the "dance" (overture) put on by the abusers looks like. "They need to know that they don't allow the pervy (perverted) family members or neighbours to sit them on their laps," she cautioned.
Hall is suggesting that if 10,000 members of the diaspora contributed US$20 each to this cause, it could raise J$17 million. And if they contribute quarterly, that would be J$68 million per year. "Add interest to that amount, and that would go a long way," she said.
Already, a meeting is being planned for next week, and businessman Hugh Brown, who operates two premises that are rented for weddings, parties, and anniversaries, has committed to giving one of his 400-capacity venues to host the fund-raiser. Brown is originally from Kingston.
Hall said the diaspora group would be willing to work with Woman Inc, organisers of the recent Black Friday protest.
"I think Woman Inc needs resources, and while we want to help the family of five now, we recognise that this is a broad-spectrum problem plaguing the country."
She said the country has reached a turning point where persons can no longer bury their heads in the sand and pretend that these heinous crimes against babies are not happening.
"It is a stain on our country's honour," was her parting shot.