Tue | May 18, 2021

Everton Thomas | Jamaican society has failed women

Published:Monday | April 19, 2021 | 12:09 AM
Bishop Everton Thomas

The brutal slaying of 20-year-old Khanice Jackson last month is not only unforgettable, but also unjustifiable. Mother, if you can hear me through your grief and anguish, I feel your pain. I wish to express sincere condolences to you and your family for the pain-staking and untimely loss of Khanice. No doubt, she was a promising and bright young lady with her whole life ahead of her. And yet I am fully aware that there’s nothing I can say that will make much of a difference to you at this time. But please be assured that countless thousands of Jamaicans and others are praying for you and your family as you go through this storm.

But in addition to praying, I unequivocally condemn rape, violence, abuse and sexual assault against women. I condemn the mentality of entitlement that some men have, that they can have any woman they want, as though they are property. And I condemn the styling of our precious women as objects of pleasure, all in the strongest possible terms.

And yet the problem is much larger, as it includes everything from unwanted touching to sex trafficking. We have a huge problem in Jamaica. Many women don’t feel safe because our society has failed them.There are too many stories of young girls or adult women reporting what happened to them and it is ignored, or they are blamed for it. We have degenerated into a sexually perverse and slack culture that encourages men to womanise, degrade women, go after young girls, etc. This sick mentality needs to stop.

PUT LEGISLATIONS IN PLACE

I call on the governmental powers that be to legislate, post-haste, additional laws and regulations that will help to stem the tide of these wanton crimes plaguing our nation. Whether or not the vehicle in this case was a taxi, here are a few potential solutions.

 

- Parents, schools and the Church have to do a better job raising men and teaching them that women are to be respected and valued as queens.

 

- More investment needed to strengthen the Sex Offender Registry, and possibly more police involvement focused on sex crimes and forensics.

 

- A sex crimes hotline where women can feel safe to report a crime against them.

 

- JamaicaEye and other installed CCTV have been yielding results, but more investment is needed in cloud-managed security IP cameras all around the country.

 

- We need to seriously clamp down on cars that are not registered but still operate as taxis, some of which are used to prey on unsuspecting females.

 

- At the same time, all registered taxis, coasters etc, should have tracking devices and not be allowed to tint their vehicle windows. Additionally, vehicles used for public transportation should have a visibly displayed ID number.

 

- I would never ‘victim blame’, but to help to mitigate against the risks associated with our reality, women should try their best to travel in groups, actively communicate with a friend or family member about their whereabouts while travelling, record licence plate numbers of taxis, use WhatsApp to send their live location to someone so that they can keep tabs on their movements and, if possible, travel with pepper spray.

DON’T KNOW GOD’S REASONS

Mother, you may ask, where was God when this was happening? Why did He allow her to experience this awful end? You may even feel like blaming God. I understand. I am not saying I understand how you really feel, because I’ve never been in your shoes, but I understand why you could possibly feel like blaming God.

All of us have a tendency to question God when bad things happen in our lives. The truth is, you can’t know all the reasons why God lets bad things happen. We live in a world that is messed up by sin, so difficult and disappointing situations are bound to come our way. Nevertheless, if you ask God for discernment, you can begin to figure out why He permitted something so negative and tragic to occur. You can also discover how God can turn the situation around and bring something good in life as a result of this suffering. I strongly believe that something positive will come out of this unfortunate development.

And again, this pain-producing event might be so heart-wrenching that you are not ready or able to accept or even consider what the Bible says, that “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28.) I understand and I pray for you, Mother, and your family.

Finally, I again offer my deepest condolences to Khanice’s mother and family and to all families who are victims of this crime and similar atrocities. God be with you.

 

Bishop C. Everton Thomas, is presiding bishop of Emmanuel Apostolic Church. Send feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.