In Jamaica the secrets of a sexual culture of carnal abuse, buggery and rape thrive below the radar of detection like micro bacteria on a dish cloth. The victims are usually our own children, girls in particular and for many, even into their adult’s life they carry the scared confined memories of how they were sexually abused and molested by family member(s), relative(s) and other “respectable person(s)” with whom they had close amicable contacts.
Hidden deep within these victims’ hearts and minds, just as how radioactive wastes are buried way down in the earth are the contamination of their innocence and youth. Forever they remain tortured by a sense of shame, indignity and guilt. Never have some revealed their ordeals and when divulged their secrets are just as mysterious and heart-wrenching to the listener as that of the Bermuda Triangle. It is only then we pause, and then contemplate, extremely puzzled, doubting, while pondering how or why on earth it could happen without us knowing.
These children/adults suffering in utmost silence are left with feelings of unworthiness and incertitude that inflicts a form of moral leprosy that rots away their self esteem, humanism and righteousness. Many in their latter years are marred with mental disorders and emotional anxieties that often results in either failed relationships and (or) suicidal tendencies.
The vicious acts of all the perpetrators are deceptive, indiscriminate and cruel. The victims are dehumanized to the point where they feel unclean, powerless and helpless. Traditionally, there never exists in the Jamaican Society a level of openness between children and parents/guardians where a child feels comfortable in telling on a grown-up and in that lays the insidiousness of the sexual predator deceptions.
Recently I had the opportunity to speak to some who were willing to share their ordeals. Never before had they told their stories. Courageously they did so amid tears and intermitting silence. One summed it up best when she said, “I hope your article will help a lot of Jamaican women deal with their pain and know that they are not alone, but most importantly, that at least one man will consider the forever damage he will inflict on a child and not do this sick thing.”
Here is her story: I know that my experiences are nothing compared to what other women have had to deal with. I was a little skinny girl and people always told me how beautiful and smart I was. My parents were extremely protective of me. I knew my Dad would kill anyone who hurt me. My Mom was a nurse and she taught me very early about my body and sex etc. You would think then that I should have been the child that molestation would not have happen to.
I remember as early as seven that a family member would pick me up and always his hands would get under my clothes somehow. He would hug me and tell me how pretty I was and give me candy. He would do this even in front of my mom and when she looked away he would then try to “feel me up”.
Next it was a family friend. He would always hug me and his hands would automatically go to my chest. Then there was a weekend that my brothers and I stayed at his home. His wife would be there so I was not afraid he would do his usual stuff. However that same night he came into the room and lifted me from the bed (because my brothers were in that room) and took me into the kitchen to give me ice cream.
While I was eating he took his p—- out and put my hands on it. He took his hands and held my hands on his p—- and kept rubbing it until he ejaculated. The next night he tried to put his p—- in my mouth but I refused and started to cry and so he did the hand job again. I refrained from ever going back to that house and whenever he visited our house I would try to hide.”
The stories of all victims of sexual abuse are almost similar in nature, deceived by a trusted friend/person or a relative. Coaxed by their predators many children are afraid to talk in the depressive fears that they will get the perpetrators into “hot water”. Some children tend to think if their caring parents/guardians were made aware they would be so outrage that they would have taking the law within their own hands to avenge such devious evil which would likewise get them into serious trouble.
Indeed their must be physiological and mental implications to these offences. A comprehensive study must be done and recommendations put forward to assist in peeling away the layers of silence that besets these encounters. Hopefully that will help bring about better medical and physiological treatment to victims, with arrests and incarcerations and proper medical treatments and rehabilitations towards sexual predators. Until then, we have to engage and encourage our child/ren at a very early age into candid, yet meaningful dialogs on unacceptable behaviors from peers and adults alike (whomever they are) in order to protect them.
Parents/guardians must now be extremely vigilant as in most cases the accused are of societal influence; very highly respected individuals as with close friends, relatives and family members. These people will deceptively betray loyalty, morality and trust, exploiting with impunity and lust for their own sexual perversions and impulses. We have to be constantly mindful that sexual molesters are likening to sly mongooses on a fowl farm. They cleverly lurks around, their real intent masked, pretending to catch snakes while cunningly snatching our little chicks; undetected and “right under our noses.”
While repeated calls have been made in The House of Parliament to address the despicable acts of Carnal Abuse, Rape and Incest the population by and large all seemed enthralled and in endorsement to DJ Buju Banton’s perceived rhetoric call for “ghetto justice” on the matter:
How it ha go-go
Machete or mi gun
Rasta or nuh Rasta dem dey bwoy deh fe bun
Strange tings mi nah-go condone
Mi a beg unnu fe lef de lickle pickney dem alone
Strange tings me hafi condemn
Wen y’u see lickle pickney mi a beg uunu tek unnu
yeye affa dem.
March 2006, The Jamaican House of Representatives have unanimously approved a motion calling for the establishment of a sexual offender’s registry and implementation of a programme for monitoring sex offenders. CISOCA…Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse, Women’s Media Watch and UNICEF are organizations working to uncover cases of carnal abuse, rape and incest.