Wed | Jun 3, 2020

Mark Wignall | Rape is a woman’s worst nightmare

Published:Thursday | September 19, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Recently, an educated young man made a grand fool of himself in a social-media post when he suggested that his posting of a rape mention was just his way of expressing a joke.

In that, he perfectly captured this society’s inability to bring to prominence that strong link needed between education and intelligence. Too many of our young men trivialise rape without seeing the long-term pain it inflicts on our women.

At a time, just a little over 20 years ago, I met three young women who individually laid out their own horror stories of sexual abuse.

Growing up was tough for ‘N’ in a deep-rural area. Her mother had a little stall by the roadside, and one day the ignorant and desperately poor mother suggested to 15-year-old ‘N’ that she should go out with a taxi driver who said he liked her.

The man came for her one evening. After travelling some distance along a main road, he turned off and drove to a marl pit at the end of a cul-de-sac. He then hauled and pulled her out of the car at knifepoint, threw her down on the marl pit and brutally raped the child. To add insult to the horrible injury, because she was so far from home, she had no other choice but to re-enter the car and allow the beast to deliver her at the gate of her mother’s house.

Another young woman, ‘K’, lived in poor, but comfortable surroundings in semi-rural settings in the St Andrew hills. She lived with her mother and three sisters. One night, there was a home invasion. Four young men with long knives. Fourteen-year-old ‘K’ was raped. So were her sisters. About three years later, her mother developed openly mental problems. It came about because the mother was also raped that night and had been painfully hiding the terrible fact from her daughters.

Everyone knew everyone

‘T’ was a bit luckier. Sixteen-year-old ‘T’ was also living in hilly, rural country where everyone knew everyone else. One day, one of her brother’s male friends stopped by the house. She was the only person home. “Di boy just decide dat him gwine hold mi dung. Him start to choke mi and push mi into the mattress.”

‘T’s’ eyes caught sight of an electric iron on a side table near to her bed. In the violent confusion, she reached for it and slammed it into the side of his head. She then ran outside and raised an alarm. Neighbours rushed to her help and the young man was held and tied up. Later, ‘T’s’ brothers gave their friend the beating of his life before they handed him over to the police.

Less than two years ago, I spoke to K, now in her late 30s. “If I give a guy any sex now it is just because I like him, but to tell the truth, I feel nothing. Just nothing.” Then she said, “Mama in and out of Bellevue. Is just so Jamaica run. T is living abroad, has been twice divorced and tells me that she has ‘experimented with same-sex relationships’.

“Men think that it is just some harmless fun,” said ‘N’ to me about a year ago. “In my case, the best sexual satisfaction I feel is with myself. A man is not that important.”

In 2019, I find that not much has changed from 1999. The majority of rapes are not reported and when one case is brought to the court, the woman is made to feel victimised, slutty and mentally destroyed all over again.