Understanding the Law
July 4, 2008
Another rape victim

Last Friday, our newspaper brought vividly to our attention a horrible crime scene. It was located in the home of a 33-year-old woman. Her home became her horror house and not the proverbial castle. It told the story of the anguish and pain she suffered when she was raped and viciously stabbed over her body. She lived through the ordeal to tell the story when she jumped through a window.{{more}}

It is not so long ago we mourned the death of a woman, a senior citizen, who was cruelly murdered and dumped into a shallow grave. Why are these cruel attacks perpetuated against women? These incidents should not be nine days wonder. In December 2006 one newspaper had as its headline “Serial rapist on the loose”- one woman raped every nine days since September 2006.” According to the reporter, the police were warning women in the Villa area “to batten down and be on their guard.” They described the rapist as a well-built man, and claimed that he had extended his acts to the Fair Hall area. Why do women have to live on high alert day and night?

Psychopaths on the loose

Week before the last, one rapist was brought to justice. Last week, another was slapped with a 15 year prison sentence for his dastardly act. Do we have psychopaths in our midst? Is the message of zero tolerance to crimes reaching the criminals? It may be better to place a greater effort on prevention because the news of prison sentences appears not to reach the criminals.

Women’s rights

There is the call for women to act more responsibly to protect themselves. This call suggests that women must refrain from taking darkened or lonely paths, that they should move about during the day rather than at the dead of night, and especially during this carnival season when there is that wanton abandonment. What is insistent in these messages is that women could fall prey to men who lurk in dark and lonely areas. However, we do not know when or where these men would strike; neither do we know when a seemingly normal person could become a monster. I still believe that women should be able to walk the streets at any time of the day or night and not be molested. This I consider to be their right as a human being. Recent occurrences, however, show the rapist would kick down a door to carry out his dastardly act.

Although I do not support women going around scantily dressed, I would not consider it an excuse for rape. In subscribing to this theory, we are giving consideration to these few men who are excited by scantily dressed women. In fact, in light of some of the incidents that occurred, dress style was not a factor. We recall the old blind lady at Rockies and the young girl from Montrose who was returning home from school.

Community needs help we have to solicit the help of the right thinking men to wipe out this scourge in our society. We must mount a crusade against the rapists and the murderers before they strike again. Teachers and parents must teach the male children in their care to respect women. Attitudes and behaviours which degrade women must be discouraged. Women are our mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters and cousins. There is a rapist out there on the loose who would stop at nothing. Our community cries out for protection! We cannot throw up our hands in the air. There must be officers with special duties to mingle with the locals to gather information. There is so much that could be done to save our society from the pain. Ladies, despite the odds, take care of yourselves!

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
E-mail address is: [email protected]