Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Letter of the Day | Break the silence on rape!

Published:Saturday | October 1, 2022 | 12:06 AM


We often talk about the silence of rape victims, and there are myriad reasons why a victim may be silent, such as fear and shame. However, the society has not done enough to give victims a voice, as the rest of us have often remained silent, choosing instead to focus on trendier topics like school uniforms.

Recently, I read in horror about the brutal rape of a female student of the Oracabessa High School in St Mary. Media reports are that she was dragged into a restroom by a male dressed in khaki and armed with a knife. The perpetrator left her unconscious on the restroom floor and the victim does not want to return to school.

I am amazed and disappointed that this horrific crime has not caught the attention of the public, including persons in high places, who have had much to say in relation to the school uniforms debate. In a world where exposure is gained from commenting on trending topics, many commentators would not have missed an opportunity to lend their voices to the drama surrounding school uniforms, hairstyles and the like. While there is room for dialogue on all aspects of our education system, the length of tunics should never take precedence over criminal acts which occur because of inadequate security measures in schools.

The uniforms, which the students will get over, have dominated the press and social media for weeks. However, who will speak on behalf of this rape victim who may never recover? From top to bottom, we need to apply the same energy to calling for heightened security measures in schools, persons to come forward with information on the rapist, and that justice is served, enough to deter others. It is not right that, while a young girl suffers, a rapist walks free.

School is supposed to be a safe haven for children, yet, we do not know whether they will make it home in one piece at the end of the day. That should never sit right with parents and the rest of the society.

Perhaps, when we begin to speak out about a less trendy topic like rape, the victims will find their voices, knowing the society will support them. This is arguably among the worst crimes that could be committed against someone. Let us not wait until it hits home to speak out against it. It may not deliver as many likes, comments, retweets, etc, but it may save someone’s life or stem the tide of crime.

It took the ‘Me Too’ movement in America to bring the subject to the fore. What are Jamaicans waiting for? What message are we sending to abusers and rapists? They must never believe that their deeds are okay or that it will be easy for them to get away. It is time to break the silence on rape. Enough!