Letters to the Editor

Protect lesbian and gay population

Thursday, September 23, 2010    

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Dear Editor,

"Corrective rape" is the barbaric practice where men rape lesbian women to "make them straight". This heinous practice is alive and well in Jamaica but goes largely unreported. Nevertheless, last year there were six reported cases, and this month two lesbians were raped within days of each other.

The first young lady was walking home when she was brutally set upon and gang-raped by a group of four men from her community. The men had complained about and seemingly had had enough of her "butch" or manly attire and were also upset that she had all the good-looking women. They therefore "cut her" so she can better "tek man". Two days later the second young lady, a known friend of the first, was driven away in a taxi, held at knife-point and brutally raped after being forced to perform oral sex on her assailant. She was then dumped partially clothed and told that the next time her rapist would use a condom.

Both rapes were reported to the police. However, it is doubtful the women will follow through with the prosecutions as the stigma and discrimination faced by raped lesbians in Jamaica is much worse than regular rape victims: in the eyes of most Jamaicans, lesbians have dared to challenge the hetero-normative status quo and have therefore somehow caused their attacks.

As a people we should have a national revulsion to such often violent abuse of the rights of Jamaica's lesbian and gay population. Instead, encouraged by our leaders and laws, many of us wear our homophobia like a badge of national pride.

Maurice Tomlinson

maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com

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