Commentary: The complexities of rape victims’ cases in the Caribbean

BY R.D. Miller

He strikes again: Another sexual assault alarm:

Stuck in traffic on a commuter bus one evening heading home from work, I came across an article published on October 2, 2018, by the Detroit Free Press about two women raped in Jamaica at an exclusive hotel by an employee hired a few days earlier.

He crawled up a balcony, armed with a handgun; he entered their hotel room and raped them both. These victims fought back, and they shot him in the arm with his weapon. They arrested him when he sought medical attention at a local hospital who alerted law enforcement.

This sexual predator was once brought in for questioning in other suspected rape cases in another parish by local law enforcement, but managed to escape on foot. This search went cold and was called off like many others before.

Some argued that it is not a Caribbean problem alone, or an isolated incident or misunderstanding.

It was much easier to join a few on social media on the subject, where some missed the burden women often face from counter-attacks by the misinformed about liability or culpability when raped and seek justice.

This is minimization, shame, guilt, and hopelessness to deflect from the negative press, as the Caribbean region continues to struggle to maintain a firm grip on sexual violence.

In many rape cases, studies have shown, some believe that she must have asked for it, flirting, dressing provocatively or being promiscuous, and was out outside the safety of their homes

Rape is simply an unlawful sexual activity carried out forcefully against someone’s will regardless of location.

This mentality silences victims from coming forward, further isolates the seriousness of sexual assault crimes along these beautiful shores that need critical responsiveness while holding offenders accountable.

The focus, especially in resorts, is simply awareness, adequate services, and a safe space for victims. Studies have shown that between 25 to 35 percent of women at some point will become a rape victim, and many choose not to come forward; especially the younger generation, some studies have shown.

Maybe new welcome packages for all visitors should have an insert on how to handle sexual assaults or suspicion and unwanted behavior.

In all cases, make sure you’re treating everyone equally, but a comprehensive background check is critical. Local managers and human resources must now re-evaluate their hiring policies and practices, although it is difficult to know these predators’ intent.

The institutional barriers:

This recent global case will not change the island immediately. Despite tough laws that hold offenders accountable for these islands, after sentencing could use an upgrade to reduce the chance of re-offending, and especially concerning victims’ rights.

There are reports that many rural courts lack resources even to order an assessment from experts to diagnose to further treat these dangerous offenders. Concerns about cases held for long periods before trial while they release some predators on bail, free to move like the ocean, only to target victims and re-offend.

Reporting rape or even domestic violence incidents some victims report not handled in the right way.

Victims often spend several hours at police stations to file an incident, and any chance to collect DNA evidence if equipped quickly diminishes.

Specialized training to handle sensitive cases is still an issue. Some victims’ interviews conducted in the open. Poorly run and under-funded medical systems lack the skills or authority to guide when one comes forward.

Overcoming unrealistic expectations of suspicion because a victim may have had a relationship with the perpetrators. In an earlier report, it talked about one foreign student on a study abroad program sexually assaulted and robbed, brought to the airport in her pajamas and covered in dried blood after spending nine hours at a hospital

These victims face long-term physical and emotional trauma, confusion, anger, suspicion, anxiety, and the negative perception that often follows. There is still a wide debate between scholars and the role that masculinity and patriarchy play in these communities. Others point to colonialism, in which rape was a common practice of enslaved women carried over.

Although the Atlantic slave trade that brought millions of African slaves to the region remains a dark period and a complicated issue, these islands today are far more educated and not delimited.

Is it an aspect of the cultural music sexualized dance?

Specialized training to handle sensitive cases is still an issue. Some victims’ interviews conducted in the open. Poorly run and under-funded medical systems lack the skills or authority to guide when one comes forward.

Overcoming unrealistic expectations of suspicion because a victim may have had a relationship with the perpetrators.

In an earlier report, it talked about one foreign student on a study abroad program sexually assaulted and robbed, brought to the airport in her pajamas and covered in dried blood after spending nine hours at a hospital

These victims face long-term physical and emotional trauma, confusion, anger, suspicion, anxiety, and the negative perception that often follows.

There is still a wide debate between scholars and the role that masculinity and patriarchy play in these communities. Others point to colonialism, in which rape was a common practice of enslaved women carried over.

Although the Atlantic slave trade that brought millions of African slaves to the region remains a dark period and a complicated issue, these islands today are far more educated and not delimited.

Is it an aspect of the cultural music sexualized dance?

These islands’ obligation:

What numbers of rape cases in the region resulted in a conviction, dismissal, or unsolved? Today several women still on these islands, or ones who migrated, have similar stories but remained silent.

The Caribbean region and its gated resorts are now at a crossroad to manage complaints promptly and effectively. Solving these issues requires awareness, training, and accountability.

The US embassy also warned of sexual assaults that occurred in residence hotel rooms, casinos, and cruise ships.In 2014, another report talked about a woman gang-raped at the Sandals Resort in The Bahamas, and others sexually assaulted.

Additional reports out of Mexico, where about 170 tourists experienced illness, and blackouts in which offenders used date rape drugs, and tainted alcohol in drinks. Several reports have noted that over 70 Americans sexually assaulted in Jamaica in seven years.

Law enforcement cannot do it alone, they too lack resources to track and solve these criminal cases. Sadly, many stories like this forgotten and over half-a-million will arrive again for a vacation on these islands’ shores, but it has opened a much-needed awareness and conversation along these shores.

Today’s “Me-Too Movement” has given victims a platform to come forward and talk about their terrible experiences of powerful men who have misbehaved.

And although few men lost their jobs and faced criminal charges; several organizations survived, and the culture remains.Since this incident unfolded in Jamaica, others talked about their own experiences at some of these 5-star hotels.

These stories, for decades, kept in the dark because they were teenagers, and were scared to ruin their parent’s vacation.

What if these hotels were to be treated like a college campus where posters and emergency buttons for awareness where studies have shown that almost 28 percent of college students surveyed reported an unwanted sexual contact?

There are also victims of rape and murders from the gay and lesbian community. These cases are up against a high tide because many still see these same-sex relationships as a sin.

I am also concerned about the ones who have not come forward, a high-school student, an employee whose life depends on that income, seeing these sexual predators daily in a hostile environment, but staying silent because of fear.

Time for a discussion

These stories, for decades, kept in the dark because they were teenagers, and were scared to ruin their parent’s vacation.

What if these hotels were to be treated like a college campus where posters and emergency buttons for awareness where studies have shown that almost 28 percent of college students surveyed reported an unwanted sexual contact?

There are also victims of rape and murders from the gay and lesbian community. These cases are up against a high tide because many still see these same-sex relationships as a sin.

I am also concerned about the ones who have not come forward, a high-school student, an employee whose life depends on that income, seeing these sexual predators daily in a hostile environment, but staying silent because of fear.

Sexual predators come in all forms:

A perverted doctor who is more interested in his patients’ underwear than the basic examination or a teacher, who engages and targets a young student’s vulnerability is just as dangerous as one who broke down a window for entry. Reports have shown that many Sex offenders suffer from schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders and were three times more likely to have a history of bipolar disorder.

See if you can spot the wolf in sheep’s clothing`

Men’s sexual violence is a wish to exert power over women, as feminist movements noted. However, these people need treatment and close monitoring to cut the danger they pose to society. In addition, a national register that tracks these offenders.

Many of us who forever link to this beautiful region whether by heritage, roots culture, will remain the unofficial marketing managers who have recommended others to the region for vacation. However, and when they asked about safety; we could say, you will be in a gated area, but today the threats are also within.

When will be the next law enforcement operation to round up sexual predators because they are just dangerous with their dysfunctional brain as any other high-powered weapon?

We are all affected when other people are hurting.

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