THE EDITOR, Sir:
There is a huge outcry in the society about rape. While this is justified, especially given recent horrific events, we need to reflect and consider what has caused these rapes.
The statement by a man who was recently sentenced to the maximum 40 years for rape is significant. Court evidence revealed that just prior to the rape, the victim appealed to the rapist. "Do you have any females in your family?" she is reported to have said. In response the young man shot back, "A Jamaica we deh!"
This is a clear indication that as far as the rapist is concerned, rape is a regular, everyday thing. All Jamaica should reflect on that remark.
Clearly, rape occurs more frequently than is apparent at first blush. Social workers have pointed out that victims often prefer to keep it to themselves and suffer in silence. Many of us know or knew of rapists or had reason to suspect them all along. We just turned a blind eye. We, like the victims, remained silent. As long as it did not affect us it did not matter.
I attended a prestigious boys' school in this country during the decade of the '70s. I remember stories I heard of incidents referred to as 'battery' in those days, the word battery being a pseudonym for gang rape, in my mind now a far more hideous offence than rape by a single perpetrator. These incidents were performed by persons of whom I knew. The incidents consisted of a female teen being lured into a sexual situation in the belief that she was going to have sex with the single object of her affection only to be set on by a group of boys at the crucial moment. None of these cases was reported. On reflection, it seems such incidents were fairly common. These acts seemed to have been viewed solely as part of the male sexual initiation process. The truth is, this was rape.
I believe the greater implication of 'Jamaica we deh' is that just about everything goes here. Laws are not thoroughly enforced or obeyed.
The whole country has been raped and many like me have stood idly by. We need to look at our total response to law and order in this country. This is not a problem for the Government alone. This is our problem.