Crime triggering Incest!
BY ERICA VIRTUE Sunday Observer writer
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Walled in by crime and violence in some of Jamaica's violent inner cities, men and women answering nature's call for sex and companionship have turned to blood relatives - in some cases fathers to daughters, brothers to sisters and even mothers to their sons, the Sunday Observer has learnt.
While the scale of the incest was not immediately ascertained, local officials say they have seen this worrying behaviour in at least four violent communities.
"It is heart-breaking," chairman of the Trench Town-based Caribbean Applied Technology Centre, Dr Henley Morgan, told the Sunday Observer. "There were areas in the inner cities where violence has forced individuals within a 30 square feet radius to remain there for years. They cannot go up the lane, down the lane or anywhere else because of violence. The end result is this heart-breaking situation."
Explaining further, Dr Morgan said, "The males have never left it (their communities) to find a girl. So they prey on each other. It is an unending web, and sometimes we read about this happening elsewhere and think it cannot happen here..."
Renowned social anthropologist specialising in social violence, Dr Herbert Gayle, corroborated Dr Morgan's story and said the practice wasn't only among fathers and daughters, or brothers and sisters.
"There are cases where mothers have turned to their sons, because their husbands or spouses are in prison and they go to her sons to fulfil her sexual needs..." Dr Gayle disclosed in an interview with Sunday Observer.
He said mothers have often expressed concerns for their girls, especially when there are sustained curfews in the inner cities.
"I am aware of it. We have never had a case to deal with it at Fathers Inc, but there are at least four communities where there are just too many instances of this happening," Dr Gayle said.
In at least one instance, he said, a man is still in prison for impregnating his underaged daughter.
Morgan's and Gayle's accounts were confirmed by a senior crime fighter who has worked the inner cities for more than a quarter century.
For him, the situation is nauseating.
"I have come across situations where during the investigation of a crime, you find everybody with the same surname. In one instance I interviewed 30 persons and they all have the same surnames," the cop said in an earlier interview with Sunday Observer. "They were brothers, sisters, cousins and friends. It got to a point where you say 'wait a minute, what is happening here?' Only to retrace your steps to find that they are all family in the sickest kind of ways...
"It is just sickening..." he said, clearly uncomfortable discussing the issue.
According to the cop, who asked for anonymity, when he stumbled on the situation, it had a chilling effect on him.
"They are the product of the same lineage, and this cannot be good for any country and any community. Can you just imagine the maladjustments of this generation of young people?" he asked.
In some communities, according to a social worker, there are real and imaginary lines across which residents can go, but still remain safe. However, there are sections referred to as "no man's land" and individuals caught in these areas are at the mercy of gunmen.
It is situations such as this that have barred residents from one end of a street, sections of communities or areas within close proximity from interfacing with each other.
"This is well known. We know this already. I work in an inner-city community and this is something I know very well." Dr Morgan said.
The veteran cop also pointed to another deeply troubling practice in these inner-city communities.
Criminal dons, claiming to be community benefactors, have, for years, demanded sexual favours from young inner city girls, some of whom they have assisted in going to school. In some instances, as soon as the girls reach puberty the dons 'send' for them for their sexual initiation.
The little girls are sometimes gone for days and are sexually assaulted. According to the cop, it is not just anecdotal, there are enough stories. His disappointment, however, and that of his colleagues, is fuelled by the failure of relatives of the abused girls to file complaints and force official investigations.
"The police face a dilemma. Oftentimes we do not have a case. There are no complainants to a crime. There are those who will say the police have a responsibility to act, yes we do. But when you have unwilling relatives, parents included, who will deny it, what do you do?" he asked in exasperation.
Dr Gayle said it was a common violation.
"That is so common. There are so many stories and actual cases. I had to insist to a don that I do not want to be in his company if he was going to be having sex with underaged girls..." Dr Gayle told the Sunday Observer.
The social anthropologist, who is an authority on social violence, has done extensive research with at least 12 gangs across 40 inner-city communities and has won his local and international recognition for his body of work.
His insistence, he said, caused the don to call a meeting of his 'shottas' and "tell them that the girl must be at least 16 years".
"That is still sexual assault," Dr Gayle fumed.
HE argued that the police have lost their legitimacy to the dons in the inner cities and while he sympathised with the cops, he said, "if the residents were not willing to report murders, it was unlikely that they were going to report incest".
He said the status and stock of the dons are closely linked to the number of children they sire, irrespective of their contribution to the lives of the children once they are born.
Some families have opted to relocate in a bid to evade the ravaging of their young female members.
However, for some adult women, it is a status symbol.
Women have been known to give their bodies to the dons as a means of financial support in communities with high unemployment.
In modern societies, victims are able to access public psychiatric assistance in a bid to heal. According to the veteran cop, "Here (in Jamaica) people suffer in silence, and even more worrying is that the tragedy is repeated over and over again."
Dr Gayle said there was hope, as even the crudest form of social intervention is appreciated in some communities, and has borne fruit.
For Morgan, too, there is hope.
"Despite the horror, some beautiful flowers (men and women) have bloomed in our inner cities," he said.