Editor: The furore created by the sensational headline of last week’s newspaper has given rise to a number of responses. While some persons are playing political football with much enjoyment, other “so called” intellectuals are hiding their heads in the proverbial sand. I would therefore like to give what I would think is a balanced approach to the young lady’s attempt to bring attention to an issue that has been swept under the rug and will continue to be hidden; for all you know, this will be another nine days’ wonder.
Let me first say that the aim of the workshop at which the statement was made highlighted the sexual abuse of our school-aged children and red flags teachers should look for in children who may be going through their own personal battles of dealing with it. Maybe the frontline headline should have read “An increase in Sexual Abuse and Rape in SVG”. Unfortunately, the issue of increased sexual abuse got lost in the titillating discussion that bombarded the air waves.
The statement made was “we cannot pretend that a rape culture does not exist”. The intellectual pundits have called the statement “Americanized” and “an unfair statement”. Really! In its simplest term, a culture is formed when something constantly occurs so that it becomes normalized. The records at the level of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of National Mobilization et al and the Police Department can attest to the number of reports about rapes, and forced sexual acts among our young people. Read the report from the United Nations on sexual abuse in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Yet we would dare to say it’s not that bad that we should call it a culture! When should it be called a culture? And how many of these cases have been solved?
Most of the men in St Vincent and the Grenadines are brimming with testosterone and hyped on “machismo”. It has become normal for men to tell women in graphic terms what they would like to do to them and how they want to do it. Just take a walk to the upper end of Middle Street if you do not believe.
Some persons may dare to argue that saying so does not mean a rape culture exists. But please note that the idea is birthed in the mind, verbalised with the mouth and soon leads to actions. The discussion will be far from over because people will always find ways to cast aspersions when a serious issue needs to be addressed. So in the meantime we talk, and talk. That’s what we are good at doing. Meanwhile no one stops to think of persons who may have been raped and have been thinking of reporting it to the relevant authorities and how it will impact them or God forbid, those who may be sexually assaulted in the future. After all … who wants to become a talking point on the social media? Who wants a traumatic, life-changing event to become fodder for the political men with their own personal agendas?
A Balanced View