Physical assaults on women in Jamaica have again taken centre stage with the brutal battering of a woman recently captured on video.
Her assailant is alleged to be a member of parliament from the ruling party but that is yet to be corroborated or substantiated.
With the video now widely circulated, it elicited nationwide indignation and condemnation, women were again the subject of heinous physical abuse.
Let’s be clear , this venomous attack was a case of a man intent on causing grievous bodily harm to the woman in the video. It looked like he meant to cause irreparable damage.
There were instant calls for his censure. He should be hung drawn and quartered. He should be instantly dismissed from Parliament and the JLP and here was yet another case of the physical abuse that Jamaican women had to endure at the hands of men.
What was seen on that video was egregious, horrifying and an assault on the senses of well meaning law abiding citizens. It embossed in the public consciousness that women in Jamaica run the gauntlet of assaults on their persons every day. It had a particular poignancy given the recent plight of Khandice Jackson, Natalie Dawkins and Andrea Lowe-Garwood.
The Government responded to the public outcry on what was seen on that fateful video.
“If there’s confirmation that the party member and MP conducted himself as is being alleged, the consequences will be swift….
“There’s no place in the JLP for any individual who abuses or attacks anyone, in particular women,” said Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang, the JLP’s general secretary.
A very measured and antiseptic response which was carefully crafted.
Opposition Spokesperson on Justice and Gender Affairs Senator Donna Scott-Mottley was more strident, saying, “It flies in the face of the national outcry against violence against women that is now pervasive. The police should proceed without fear or favour to ensure that the law takes its course and justice is served.”
Parliamentarians, civil society and the population at large should be outraged and be calling for justice but it all amounts to naught if the lady who was brutally beaten does not come forth and point the finger at the man who rained those vicious blows down on her head.
She also has to provide context – why did he launch that barbarous attack? What was said between them? Exactly what is their relationship? Has this happened before?
The police have to establish an irrefutable case with rock-solid evidence. To date that is woefully absent without any affirmation that the man identified in the video is who it is presumed to be.
If the battered and bruised victim does not press charges, it doesn’t give prosecutors a strong case and yet again reaffirms the adage, “ men get away with murder.”
The prime minister has made it clear that he wants to see Jamaica attain developed world status, with its people enjoying prosperity. It is a noble goal, but it can never be substantive if moral ambivalence and societal decay is allowed to persist.
The assault on women seems to be more marked during the COVID-19 outbreak, with more graphic degradations taking place almost on a weekly basis. This should be a time of solidarity, people coming together, men looking to protect women and children not subject them to abuse.
There are a number of prominent women who have platforms that are invariably used to promote themselves. They say it’s all about “marketing your brand and selling yourself”.
It’s all very well listing accomplishments and highlighting fashion choices and those who make up the glitterati as friends, but not to highlight what your Jamaican sisters have to endure says a lot about their character- It’s the ugly side of solipsism.
The lawyer and broadcaster Jodi-Ann Quarrie must be commended for placing a spotlight on the assault on Jamaican women and ensuring the subject is not a nine-day wonder. The discussions on this matter that she has presided over have been intelligent, informative and solutions-oriented. She has brought a lawyer’s forensic approach to the enduring desecration and violation of Jamaican women in their own country.
It’s a sorry state of affairs if women in Jamaica do not feel safe going about their business in the course of leading their lives. There is nothing that warrants the beating meted out to that woman in that video -NOTHING!
We will all be paying attention to how this unravels. Those of us who have sisters, mothers, daughters, aunts cousins, wives, girlfriends, lovers will look at that video and ask the question, “ What if that was my…?”
It says a lot about a man, how he treats the women in his life. If men are allowed to wantonly abuse their women without censure, without condemnation, without paying a price, then it says a lot about the society and country.