Tue | Nov 30, 2021

Letter of the Day | Expressing outrage over crimes against women is not enough

Published:Tuesday | March 30, 2021 | 12:57 AM


The spike in murders in Jamaica is alarming. There are not enough words to describe the outrage in the recent murder of 20-year-old Khanice Jackson. I can’t imagine the pain of her grieving family and friends. This is not normal, we can no longer express outrage and condolences and then move on. Khanice was our sister, our daughter, our relative and our friend, she could be anyone among us. Other women have lost their lives senselessly or gone missing, University of the West Indies student Jasmine Deen has been missing for over a year, with no leads! A few weeks ago a woman was gunned down while worshipping in a church! Our society has become ruthless, callous and overwhelmed with evil and we need a more effective response.

Legislators must push to enforce stricter penalties for murderers and demand swift justice for these serious crimes. We must teach young girls and women in particular to be always conscious of their surroundings and who they associate with; walk in groups when possible, or near people. Women should be encouraged to carry mace and pepper sprays for self-defence.

We must also find effective ways to teach young boys to become men and better human beings. We are living among people who are worse than animals. As the prime minister said, oftentimes the warning signs are there, even among those who are around us. The media has a responsibility, too, to help to improve awareness. Many attacks on women are rooted in domestic abuse and sexual assault. It is sickening and alarming.

The minister of national security needs to put stricter measures in place, as right now it seems they can’t manage. It is not enough to express outrage and condemnation repeatedly. Crime-fighting is a huge responsibility; an advisory team is needed to lead the national response. Jamaica cannot develop even marginally with this level of crime around us.

We need a more effective plan that goes beyond the typical state of emergencies and zones of special operations. Murder cases should be prioritised and the justice system overhauled to expedite trials and sentencing. Trials should be fair, just and speedy.

We hope that Khanice’s murder case will be tried quickly with a stringent sentence given to the accused. We continue to pray for her family and friends, and other victims of these horrendous crimes.