How many more gruesome murders will it take?

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

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Dear Editor,

It is really heartbreaking to hear of the tragic circumstances that led to the death of 14-year-old Yetanya Francis, who was mutilated after being raped last Thursday by men within her community of Arnett Gardens.

It is uncanny that this homicide is the straw that broke the camel's back, after a series of crimes similar to this against young women and girls within the community and elsewhere since last year. It is even more uncanny that we have forgotten that a similar case ensued a year before when 12-year-old Micholle Moulton was shot in her community of Arnett Gardens after reportedly refusing the sexual advances of men within the community.

Lest we forget that last month, 13-year-old Shanoya Wray was found decomposing in the home of a man accused of pouring a corrosive substance over her body to get rid of the remains. How can we forget the gruesome killing of nine-year-old Kadijah Saunders who was found in bushes in Westmoreland after being assaulted. How many more names will it take for CISOCA, the arm of the JCF mandated to ensure efficient and effective investigation into allegations of abuse, to get it right. How many more stories will it take for the Government to integrate a fight against acts of sexual violence as part of their “effective crime plan”?

The Ministry of National Security seems to think that only shootings, theft, the war on drugs and corruption are deemed worthy of being part of its crime plan, but when will we root out the evil men within communities who continue to catcall, assault, and perpetrate gruesome acts of sexual violence.

Sexual violence is, in part, a gender-based issue. However, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is not mandated to develop strategies that will curb crimes against young women and girls who stand vulnerable. Until we realise this, these stories will continue to surface.

Finally, the residents of these affected communities need to break their silence. Only you can save the next set of Yetanyas, Micholles, Shanoyas, Kadijahs and many more names out there.

MX Williams

Youth Advocate

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