Today on my way to Portmore I happened to be listening to the Barry G (The Boogey Man) show found on the Mobay-based Mello FM. Barry is a veteran broadcaster who, truth be told produces one of the most informative and exciting radio programmes, educating listeners about health issues among other things.
Today he had as a guest, the father of the 8-year old girl that was brutally raped along with four (4) other women including the child’s mother, at gun point by men from Montego Bay. The father is quoted in sunday’s Jamaica Observer news paper as saying ‘who am I not to forgive these people’. Barry G is among the many Jamaican’s both public and private entities, that have pledged to support the child, Barry G pledging to fully support her relocation to another parish (as stated in the newspaper article -sunday September 30, 2012), and as noted on the radio programme today, hinting at possible relocation outside of Jamaica on the account of ‘we know how Jamaican people stay’.
Admittedly, I have found this whole situation quite disturbing as I struggle to form an opinion about it. I agree the rape of the child was beyond gruesome, that is a fact, and feel really good that the support she has gotten has been so overwhelming, however other things jump out at me.
a) What of the rape of the other women, were they not also gruesome
b) What on earth could have possessed the men to do that
c) Is her getting all this support which includes $200k per month to take care of her, a blessing for the pain she suffered, is suffering and will be suffering. Will material things make it go away?
d) What of the other young women and men who suffer sexual abuse in silence, if they spoke out, will they receive opportunities to relocate locally and internationally, free schooling and money
e) If the horrific sexual abuse histories of young gay men and lesbian women to which I have been exposed, were to be made public, what would be the sentiment, would they be allowed to relocate to another parish/country, would their preference for the opposite sex be understood and accepted, would the effeminacy of some gay men or the hardness of some lesbians be excused as the result of their horrible experience
f) How do people who have experienced sexual violence, Ananda Dean’s mother, the child who was forcefully penetrated with the broom stick (can’t call it rape as our law doesn’t acknowledge rape to be anything outside of penis and vagina), feel when these issues come up, where do people go for help amidst the shame and embarrassment that accompany such an invasive and dis-empowering act.
g) Where is the church, who just weeks before took it to social media, and with a feigned march in HWT against sexual impurity, which was really a stand for homophobia and against people making a personal decision to have sex in private with whoever consults to such disgraceful glorious sex.
Humanity will never be void of social issues to be addressed, I think it is what keeps us busy and tugs at skirt-tails and pant-foots as a reminder that we are our brothers keeper, perhaps this message should stop tugging and start totally de-robing us as we must be immediately drawn to the appreciation that we are indeed our brother’s keepers.
Unfortunately, rapes and other forms of sexual violence are almost always perpetuated by the people who are supposed to love us, the ones who get our trust without the usual grilling reserved for strangers. Its time we got naked, stepping out of the shame, embarrassment and fear that haunts the victim like a shadow. This shadow is not in your past if it still goes before you, colouring all your future sexual encounters and stripping your self esteem. If each time you remember the situation, your skin crawls and hatefully familiar emotions become as clear as day, as if it all happened yesterday…you are very strong but you are not over it.
If your strength is not real, authentic and genuine you will crumble at the time you need it most, strength is built only by facing your evils head on. You will never break. Evils are sent our way as part of our divine purpose to build the character and strengths that we need to help support someone who will trod our way, and will need help.
Again, whether you are gay or straight, there are agencies that are mandated to provide support to Jamaicans, Gay people born in Jamaica are also Jamaicans (o_O), do not hesitate to report your issue and seek support, if only to show yourself and the other person who will endure the same horrid feelings you have about your own experience, that you deserve to live the best life that you came here to live and no asshole will be allowed to take that away from you.
CISOCA – The centre for investigation of sexual offences and child abuse
Bureau of Women’s Affairs