The People’s Court

As images of the bloody scene on St Louis Street started to make rounds last Thursday, the instinctive reaction for many appeared to be that of horror. It was almost physically painful to imagine a human being experiencing trauma of that magnitude with a foreign object, in the most sensitive area possible. Even some of the most stoic individuals I know were shaken to the core.

So it was somewhat disheartening to hear some of the indifferent, and unnecessarily judgmental comments that escaped the mouths of a group of females who were weighing on the matter.

“But what she doing on the road at that time in the morning?”

“Why the lady walking on that street of all places at that time?”

“They will learn not to take rides from people,” one chimed in disdainfully, either misinformed or confused by the target of her pawol jete.

“But I heard she was a vagrant,” added another, gleeful at being able to contribute this juicy morsel.

In essence, whatever happened in that tiny alleyway rested solely on the victim.

If only she had not had the audacity to walk on a street without the great expectation of personal safety. How naïve of her.

At this point it is also naïve of us to expect any different from our female counterparts. Don’t hold your breath waiting for them to be with you in the trenches fighting the good fight against sexual violence. Sadly it is often women who lay blame squarely on the shoulders of the aggrieved.

It is most presumptuous to think that a woman’s mode of dress dictates how she should be treated. It is equally as vile for their suffering to be deemed ‘acceptable’ on any level for arbitrary reasons of social standing or lack thereof. Not even poor decision-making is a dealbreaker.

But with the maipwi being bandied about at warp speed, is it any shocker that rape cases go nowhere in this country and many more go unreported?

Since we are so big on ‘educating the public’ and ‘putting measures in place’ until the cows come home, I thought I would do my bit by sharing some info from a British crisis center:

“Myth: The women was drunk / took drugs / had a bad reputation / was hitch-hiking / wore tight clothes / seduced him / probably got what she was asking for.

“Fact: If a person is unconscious or their judgment is impaired by alcohol or drugs, legally they are unable to give consent. Having non-consensual sex with a person who is intoxicated is sexual assault.

“Rapists use a variety of excuses to attempt to discredit the women they rape and to justify their crime. No woman asks or deserves to be rape or sexually assaulted. Often a rape case is defined more by the woman’s character than by what has happened to her.

“Newspapers and mass media often refer to women in the roles that they have within society: young mother, grandmother, doctor’s wife and so on. Regardless of the woman’s social position, she is most often held responsible—not the rapist.

“The rules imposed on women’s behaviour allow rapists to shift the responsibility for rape onto women wherever possible, so that most of the perpetrators who rape are seen as victims of malicious allegations, carelessness or stupidity.

“There is no other crime in which so much effort is expended to make the victim appear responsible—imagine the character or financial background of a robbery victim being questioned in court.”

Unfortunately in Saint Lucia the ruling comes down from the court of public opinion.

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