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‘Matey war a big issue in Jamaica’

Gayle blasts activists for ignoring women-on-women violence

Published:Thursday | April 29, 2021 | 12:15 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Dr Herbert Gayle.
Dr Herbert Gayle.

Pointing out that matey violence claims one in 10 Jamaican women murdered each year, anthropologist Dr Herbert Gayle has accused the violence against women lobby of hypocrisy for not focusing on their deadly involvement in love triangles and gangs.

He blasted women rights advocates for nitpicking the cases they cry out over, suggesting that classism is the driving factor.

The university lecturer said that approximately 120 women have died violently annually in Jamaica since 2000.

He said one of the statistics being ignored is female-on-female violence because of love triangles.

“Matey kill 11 per cent of all women in Jamaica. Matey in Jamaica wipe out 11 per cent of all women who get killed in Jamaica, and people don’t want to discuss that. Everybody wants to talk about the woman and the man in a war,” Gayle said on Sunday in an online forum discussing gender-based violence.

Matey is a Jamaican term used to refer to a woman who is having an affair with a man who already has a significant other.

“Matey war is a big issue in Jamaica!” the University of the West Indies, Mona, lecturer stressed.


Gayle said that he has studied several countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, and the issue in Jamaica dwarfs those elsewhere.

“I have never seen another place where matey so brutal,” he said.

He said 21 per cent of women who die each year lose their lives because of being in a relationship with a man.

“Three-quarter of that problem is related to money,” the researcher argued.

“People have become so propagandistic and so kerosene oil about this thing that all they are interested in is 21 per cent.”

That’s approximately 28 out of all the women killed each year and 1.95 per cent of murders in Jamaica overall.

“It is not so much about the two per cent either. Because it has to involve a certain class. Because if the woman is poor and not so good-looking, we are not going to have more than a day quarrelling about her either,” the university lecturer asserted.

Gayle disclosed that a much larger chunk of 64 per cent of women who die in Jamaica are victims of gang warfare.

He contended that sometimes, the women who get killed as a result of gang violence are intimately involved in the operations of the gangs.

Four per cent of women who die each year are as a result of family feuds, Gayle also disclosed.

“I think it is a bad place to be when we are so energetic about campaigning that we don’t want to hear the data,” Gayle charged.

Gayle said the data research was sponsored by a United Kingdom faith-based group putting up £5,000.