Edi­tor’s Let­ter

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Kayra Wil­liams

Ire­mem­ber the hor­ror with which I be­held my CXC ex­am­i­na­tions re­sults upon re­al­iz­ing I'd passed for en­rol­ment at a par­tic­u­lar school. It wasn't so much the school it­self that both­ered me. The rea­son I pan­icked had to do with a widely pub­li­cized news re­port about a re­cent 'gang bang' at the school. To this day I re­mem­ber stand­ing in my room, tears stream­ing down my face, as I imag­ined the aw­ful at­tack. I was the only one of my friends who would be at­tend­ing the school, ranked in the is­land's top five—an irony that was for me es­pe­cially ter­ri­fy­ing. The fact that my older brother also at­tended the school was no con­so­la­tion. That boys were less likely to be vic­tim­ized than girls hardly mat­tered.

Not much has changed since, cer­tainly not my view that women are more vul­ner­a­ble in a so­ci­ety dis­in­clined to rep­ri­mand men who con­sider it their right to dom­i­nate, to ma­nip­u­late, to force women into sex. Rape and other forms of sex­ual vi­o­lence are even more com­mon­place than when I sat my CXC. If any­thing has changed it is the un­speak­able vi­o­lence that now is part of the sex­ual abuse. Al­most monthly we hear the re­ports of dis­mem­bered fe­males, of metal ob­jects jammed into them. Some vic­tims were raped while their chil­dren looked on; some mur­dered be­fore the eyes of their hor­ri­fied off­spring. That more vic­tim­ized women seem to be speak­ing out doesn't seem to mat­ter. Clearly for too many men in our coun­try women ex­ist to be rav­aged in the worst way, to be killed and sliced up like an­i­mals at a slaugh­ter­house.

Mean­while it seems the pop­u­la­tion has be­come jaded; shell-shocked, maybe. Even when pub­lisher and TALK host Rick Wayne says on TV that “most fe­males in Saint Lu­cia have been raped or oth­er­wise sex­u­ally abused,” there is hardly a re­ac­tion. It's al­most as if he'd said the sky is blue. He re­peats the shock­ing statis­tic and waits for a con­tra­dict­ing voice that never comes. It would seem ev­ery­one knows how bad it is for fe­males in Chris­tian Saint Lu­cia. Rape has be­come 'we kolcha'; as nor­mal as grind­ing in con­tour-hugging Span­dex at car­ni­val time.

Will the proper mea­sures ever be put in place so women may go about their busi­ness with­out fear of end­ing up naked at the road­side or on a semideserted beach? Then again, only the loud­est squeaks get the oil. And no one's squeak­ing. But that's only half the hor­ror story. The other half con­cerns the vic­tims of sex­ual abuse who were not killed while some sav­age got his rocks off. Where are the re­hab cen­tres? Who cares? No one, it seems, un­til the con­se­quences of such ne­glect, the killers, the ar­son­ists, the child mo­lesters, claim their lat­est vic­tim.

When will we care enough to make sex ed­u­ca­tion an im­por­tant part of our school cur­ricu­lum? When will we ac­knowl­edge and im­prove the hous­ing sit­u­a­tion that is a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to our worst so­cial prob­lems? When will we rec­og­nize that with­out a func­tion­ing jus­tice sys­tem we are noth­ing more than an­i­mals liv­ing by the law of the jun­gle? And yes, when will we re­al­ize the rep­u­ta­tion of a school does not be­gin to be as im­por­tant as pro­tect­ing young school girls from be­ing 'gang-banged'?

It is high time we re­al­ized the roles women play in a civ­i­lized so­ci­ety are ev­ery bit as im­por­tant as those played by their male coun­ter­parts. We have to teach our peo­ple to re­spect one an­other, re­gard­less of gen­der. It is also time the so­ci­ety started deal­ing with the in­cor­ri­gi­ble mis­cre­ants who refuse, for what­ever twisted rea­sons, to ac­cept that truth!

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