Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Letter of the Day | Let Mickolle Moulton’s death account for something

Published:Thursday | August 10, 2017 | 8:08 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Violence against women is not a clandestine affair in Jamaica! It happens every day. We hear the common saying that "if him no beat me him no love mi". All of these everyday statements that parents hardly ever stop their sons from touting and daughters from accepting are what may have led to the untimely and heinous killing of young Mickolle Moulton.

I can just imagine the unfortunate scenario wherein the worthless boy on the corner makes his advance at young Mickolle as she attempts to go on her merry way.

Her rejection, whatever form it may have taken, crushed his sense of entitlement to her body; that same entitlement that makes Jamaican men feel as if it is OK to grab the hand, smack the buttocks, or worse, describe in the most graphic ways the sexual things he would like to do to her. If the woman dares reject them, or decides to pull away, they then proceed to hurl the most offensive language at her. In essence, many believe they are given the licence to have their way with all women. I believe it is this sense of entitlement to a woman's body, held by many Jamaican men, which led to Mikolle's death. It is the single most obvious sign that everything is wrong about what most Jamaican men think about women. The truth is that something has to be done to turn back this archaic culture that sees women as properties of men.

I saw the politicians condemning this criminal act, as well they should. The truth, however, is while this may gain them a lot of political mileage and does well for their image, until there are real and immediate measures there will not be change.

As a result, for Mickolle's death to mean anything, the following ought to be done:

- A swift movement by the security forces to apprehend and bring this man to justice, with the full length of the law being meted out to him;

- A public campaign, fully funded by the Government (private sector sponsorship if available), aimed at sensitising the public about violence against women and girls;

- A hotline set up specifically for the reporting of violent incidents against women in the office of the ministry that deals with women's affairs. Liaison with organisations such as women's centres and CISOCA may also be placed in the framework.

- Members of parliament must be mandated to host classes and sensitisation campaigns across their constituencies. The church is a good place to start.

Finally, and most important, the Ministry of Education must be tasked with drafting a curriculum to be taught in schools at every level about gender, gender-based violence, respect for each gender.

This curriculum should teach girls to own their body and boys that that they do not own, nor are they entitled to a woman's body without permission, even in marriage.

We really should see this rolling out in schools across Jamaica within a year, which is more than enough time to carry out consultation and train guidance counsellors.

We must not make this young woman's death a nine-day wonder! The only way we do this is if we ensure that not one more woman becomes the victim of a man who feels entitled to her body.

Omrie Samuels