Lesbian rights in Jamaica several years ago was hardly discussed or just casually glanced at as most targets of homophobic violence and stigma were directed at gay males. With the increase in the temperature of the venom towards the homosexual lifestyles and the more outward displays by lesbians in general since females can and are allowed some room to express themselves more openly seems to have riled some enough to launch attacks at our sisters, specifically our “butch” brethrens.
With the news of instances of corrective rapes cases across the nation comes to the fore many ladies are becoming circumspect with their actions and male encounters that they come across on a daily basis. As word on the latest installment in the string of incidents hit the streets this further compounds the issue. Many women in general who find themselves in jobs predominantly filled by men are nervous as well as the instances of rape nationally has increased by several percentage points according to the authorities, of course these are cases that have been reported and a criminal prosecution case filed. Imagine all the others that have gone under the radar.
The latest corrective rape incident involved a lesbian couple in western Jamaica several weeks ago, unfortunately these ladies were also victims of homophobic or lesbophobic attacks early 2008. They had rebuilt their lives after suffering threats and an attack on their home. They relocated to western Jamaica, St. James to follow up on job opportunities they had heard of. The women were reportedly tricked by a man who had an intense crush on one of the women and they were attacked at gunpoint and the disgusting act carried out. The term corrective rape was invented in 2000 by human rights groups to describe the seuxal attacks and assaults on South African women since then there have been several cases in that country, I use the term here with the clear understanding of it’s history but the similarities between what our African sisters are going through and now our local sisters are indeed close.
Since then the news of the latest victims’ plight has been making the rounds and many are nervous and saddened by it. They have been assisted so far by private hands and are recouping gracefully. Please pray for them too if you do that activity. Crime in general is a problem but women in general by virtue of deemed the weaker sex are victims of rape and battery and all should be concerned. The police have their hands tied and the gay community here is still not given equal treatment in terms of police interactions and stigma and sexual harassment are also problems as well in these same interactions as we have seen male police officers handling female members of the public with suggestive overtones which must not be.
Let us begin to galvanize support for our sisters as well and help each other, look out for each other.