Rape Becomes An Issue

NOT in our wildest dreams did we ever envisage that rape would have become such a critical issue in St Lucia, as it is at this time. It appears that every month, there is at least one dastardly incident of rape in our country. Most times, it is accompanied by brutal violence and on occasions, even death.

It is as though there is some disease stalking our country, transforming men and boys into animals out to satisfy their lust for sex at any cost, without regard who their intended victims might be. The real irony though is that, as a country, there has been no response to this series of attacks on our women and girls. Some weeks ago, the police promised us that measures would be in place to thwart these attacks. Now, after the latest incident a week ago, the response is the same.

Let us, however, be fair to the police. There is no way they can be present every time a rape is committed. And how does one fight rape, anyway? But it is a strange phenomenon that we have here at this time where even journalists and media people have to be careful what they say about rape for fear of being threatened with lawsuits by people claiming to have been fingered as culprits. How, we ask, can any serious discussion about rape take place, or the issue brought into its proper perspective if there are restrictions on thought and opinion on the matter, especially after no less a person than the Prime Minister has spoken of “serial rapists” in our midst?

Could this be the reason why the Minister of National Security whose portfolio includes crime, cannot up to now, make a strong statement on what has been going on in the country, even to give our women some comfort?

We see a statement attributed to the Minister in response to the alleged rape of two teenage girls on Derek Walcott Square two Fridays ago, and we can only describe it as pathetic for its lack of substance and any suggestion of official concern. Frankly, we are amazed that this Minister continues to hold this important position even after the failures and disappointments that attend his performance.

One expected outright condemnation by the government following the Derek Walcott Square incident, but this has not happened. The government needs to demonstrate in no uncertain terms, its abhorrence of the continued violation of our women and do so in the strongest possible terms.

There is the another dimension as well and that is the decadence that pervades St Lucia, producing these very disturbing incidents of sex crimes. St Lucia is clearly on a path of moral corruption that is bound to continue to shock us all unless it is arrested. Teenagers in a public place at night, for whatever reason, when they ought to have been in their homes with parents and family, is just another example of youth delinquency that is rampant in our country. It is time that we begin to address this matter at the school level by the enforcement of regulations to curb the unbridled freedom that children now enjoy to be anywhere, anytime. Side by side with this, we have to find a way to make parents and guardians responsible for children in their care

The total picture is much bigger, though, and scarier as well. The fact that a serious crime can be committed in the heart of our capital, undisturbed by any arm of the law, tells us quite simply that our capital is unsafe and unprotected, and criminals and evil doers have free rein.

The personal security and safety of our people, especially our women, is clearly under threat. There is a sickness running through our country that desperately needs to be treated.

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