Sunday, January 20, 2013


Ending sexual violence

 It's been a while since I've been here so Happy New Year and all that. Even though it's late my first post of 2013 had to be about the gang rape rape in India. Yep, y'all knew I had to go there late or not.

In India, a country where the love of male children has led to the murder of three million girls in the last decade; a young woman boards a bus and is brutally raped by six men. Damini as she becomes known to the world succumbs to her injuries and dies in a Singapore hospital. In my own island where rape is becoming all too common  many have been understandably outraged. "Those Indians real wicked eh"  were the  most common words heard in the wake of the incident. Yet how quickly we forget that eleven years
 ago we had our own Damini..

A stunned nation awoke to the news that 12 year old Lokisha Nanton was raped, sodomized and left hanging on a tree-the makeshift noose fashioned from strips of her tee-shirt. Tears flowed endlessly and public condemnation was at an all time high. Then we quietly packed up the outrage, dried our tears and went on with our lives.I had never met Lokisha but her gruesome death and the silhouetted image of her discarded body haunted me for weeks. Recently, a young family friend was raped. When I eventually saw her it was difficult reconciling the downcast girl who struggled to look me in the eye with the vivacious girl I'd known all her life. While Lokisha and Damini lost their physical lives the face of my young friend is one the world hardly ever sees because the victims stay silent fearing the villain treatment.

Despite all the outrage I am not very hopeful of meaningful change. How can I be when gender stereotypes are repeated  ad nauseam? Vincentian women have been taking to the streets since the 80's protesting violence yet  our own Deputy PM (a female) exhorts us to dress modestly so as to prevent rape.A sitting judge gives a rapist a slap on the hands and Rickey Singh  questions the silence of women's organizations on rape. It's as if women will be forever be blamed for the incidences of rape when tackling the problem requires all hands on deck.

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