Sometimes, we are not too concerned about what happens around us. We settle in apathy until it happens to us or someone close to us. The story below is real and happened to a friend (who is like a sister) of mine. THIS is why I am an eternal feminists and ardent opponent of sexist, patriarchal ideology. I, who have no vagina, came into this world through the vagina and my veneration of same is beyond any interest to perform masculinity therein. The story speaks for itself:
As a lesbian I have often spoken of my self as a survivor of targeted sexual violence, unfortunately today I don’t feel too much like a survivor, rather an angry victim.
After my attack I decided to be brave and report the matter to the police; the first police women from CISOCA I reported it to told me that I “should leave this lifestyle and go back to church”, I could have stopped there, but I decided to go to Spanish Town CISOCA, there the women were much more professional.
I remember clearly Sergeant Lowe-Cox, putting down the paper I had handed to her of the written account, looked up in the air and said ‘Jesus Christ another one’.
I remember the days going back and forth to Spanish Town CISOCA with daddy, taking the police to the scene and hearing the male officers ask one of the accompanying CISOCA ladies if I was a sodomite, and finally being asked to identify items that were stolen from me.
I remember the day I was called and asked to come in and to an identification. I remember being driven to 100 Man Police Station in Portmore after hours of waiting in Spanish Town, I remember meeting another bisexual woman who also had suffered the same. I remember going into that room and looking at the line up of men before me. I remember as I eliminated them one by one till I was down to two, I remember asking the officer in charge of the proceedings to ask both men to hold out their hands, I remember requesting that they each said the statement “pussyhole come here”, I remember standing directly across from number 6 and looking at his eyes. I remember stooping and holding my head as the pressure mounted.
I remember getting up, I remember calling the number.
I remember the day mommy and I went to court down town, I remember trying to eat but the food was stuck in my throat, I remember feeling like some one was kicking at my chest and squeezing my heart.
I remember stepping into that courtroom. I remember the questions the accused’s lawyer asked to make me seem as if I didn’t know what I was talking about. I remember pointing at and identifying in the court room the same person I had at the line up. I remember hearing for the first time his name: Ronique Raymond. I remember as he sat there and tried to intimidate me, I remember refusing to crack.
I remember coming out of the court room feeling as though I’d done my service to myself but also for other women who are afraid to come forward.
I remember being called one night by Constable Kimeisha Smith as I spoke with a friend, to be informed of the decision. I was happy it was the first time I truly felt like a survivor.
Today I went searching for the case (see link below) and what I found has made me angry, it has made me feel, all over again, like a victim, but now, today, in this post, I am taking it back, I am not a victim.
Why am I angry? I’m angry because I was sexually assaulted, forced to do oral sex at gun point, yet the closest thing that resembles the assault that Ronique Raymond was charged with was assault at common law, and assault with intent to rape, for which he was sentenced to two years. He was charged 10 and 15 years respectively for illegal possession of firearm and robbery with aggravation. 10 and 15 years? What about the assault to my person? Two years!? Two?
I’m also angry because he was acquitted in 2011. He was acquitted and the police didn’t have the decency to contact me and say Ms. Jackson, the man who saw you in court, the man you identified, the man you sent to prison, has been acquitted.
I am angry because as I searched I learnt that this man in 2008 was arrested for reportedly assaulting a 21yr old woman, while he was out on bail for a previous sexual offence, that was his 110th offence while out on bail- 40 of which were rape related. (http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/repeat-rapist-arrested-in-st-catherine)
Today I am forced to truly question the value Jamaica places on women. The police continue to ask persons to report sexual violence, but how can we? How can we be sure we will be safe after reporting? Will there be another acquittal without so much as informing the survivors either before or after?
Is Jamaica serious about wanting to reduce violence against women and girls?
I decided to write this note because it is what I can do to take back my power. I’ve written it in the hopes that maybe, if there are other survivors of sexual violence who have experienced same you will talk up and not keep quite, be a survivor not a victim.
I’ve also written with the hopes that maybe just maybe, another lesbian, or bisexual, survivor will see this and report it. I want you to know that you are not alone.
I’ve written because I will no longer keep quite, I will no longer accept my role as causing this on myself, I will no longer sit in shame. I am a survivor.
Angeline Jackson, I am sorry that this happened to you at the hands of, not just a man but our criminal, justice system (pay attention to where i just placed the comma). This makes me sad, angry, happy and further empowered to continue to FIGHT every appearance of injustice. Fight on, Soldier, fight on!!
It's a shame that this has happened to this young lady, but these things happen when the legal system is created in such a way to protect the criminal and not the ones offended.
Today again I realized that women are each others worst enemies. The way we enable our male counterparts to abuse someone of the opposite is way beyond my comprehension.
I still wonder why people in the Caribbean has this stone-aged mentality in regards to sexual preferences. This incident was a clear violation of this young lady's rights and freedom to practice what she believes in and to live the way she pleases.
Who gave this criminal the right to commit this act? The legal system only and the people who are there to enforce the law. A closer look at his rap-sheet will indicate that he's not interested in rehabilitation whatsoever so the best thing for him is to remain behind bars.
All I can say further is that this young lady should be very proud of herself and I commend her parent for standing by through all this.
Very well written, i am also angry that the justice system failed in protecting Miss Jackson
Thanks for your feedback, Tanisha. The intersectionality of gender, sexual orientation, class (multiple belongings) are glaring here, and they are the circumstances that made Ms. Jackson vulnerable to the assault and unable to receive the protection that the system should have afforded her.
I take your point on how women sometimes play a role in being complicit and active participants in unjust practices against other women. Ms. Jackson's sexual orientation might be why the first woman police officer saw Ms. Jackson as less than woman and, therefore, unworthy of any protection nder the law. After all, just a (likkle) dick she wants to turn her into a "REAL" woman…
Meanwhile, we fight and we ventilate the issue in hope of meaningful change. HELP MS. JACKSON SHARE HER STORY!
Anger is a good starting point to provoke engagement and change… thanks for stopping by and do take the opportunity to share.
Thank you for sharing D.
The pleasure is mine to have had the privilege of hearing and sharing your story. You are a bold and strong woman. Thank YOU, for giving us this…
I'm a Christian Expat, I don't believe that the Lord condones homosexuality, lust, cheating, stealing and rape among other things. This doesn't give anyone the RIGHT to abuse and rape you. His act was a SIN too. I get upset when I hear other women being so cold when bad things happen to women. I also get mad when non Christians try to quote a bible they don't even read.
I thank you for sharing your plight. I am so sorry that this happened to you. Its awful the legal system in Jamaica is so backwards still all these years since I left.
I pray that the Lord will send some modern Christians your way who have gone through the same thing. I guess there are no rape support groups? Let's face it, the Lord might be leading you to a new calling. You may need to start an advocacy and/or support group. Its going to take some STRONG women to make a stand because it seems like the majority of men are ignorant and backwards.
Thank you for reading and providing feedback, #Sistergirl! I am glad to see someone of faith who understand that affirming and recognizing the human rights of others with whom they may disagree, is not an affront to their own faith. I am sure there are more like you with whom a conversation can begin.
As an effeminate gay male immigrant to Canada who was violently gang-raped at the hands of openly homophobic agressors who would constantly tease and taunt me daily for just going about my business, I can identify with your experience. However, I applaud your courage and strength for seeking justice and more so for shareing your story.
Without making this about my experience, I remain anonymous because besides a few close friends and my supporting immigration claim in Canada, to date, I have not shared my experience due to a level of self-shame I still subconsciously harbor from being sexually assaulted. In theory, I know it is not my fault, however, years of social conditioning of being deemed wrong for merely being gay remains a part of my psyche. I remember experiences of reporting incidents of physical assaults against me to the police in Jamaica to be met with similar judgement as you have with it being my fault for being effeminate and obviously gay; not only was I usually met with judgement but more often than not made a public spectacle by the police officials and surrounding community. Therefore, having been violently gang-raped reporting the incident was certainly not option I would even consider.
I say that to say this, I do admire your bravery and support you whole-heartedly in your quest for justice.
Well, I do commend your bravery for sharing here! You, in sharing your story (albeit anonymously), have exposed the ugly underbelly of injustice and prejudice based on orientation and gender expression/non-conformity.
I wish you healing, justice and LOVE and I thank you for taking back your power and in so doing giving others their power to speak up as well.