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DO IT WITHOUT CLOTHES By Verna St. Rose-Greaves

posted 22 Feb 2016, 18:12 by Gerry Kangalee
Come walk a mile in my shoes before you challenge me on my right to protest. By now you should know that I am not fazed by your criticism and your scolding does not intimidate me. How did you get to decide what, when, and how I express my dissatisfaction. I have been in the trenches and on the firing line for most of my life. My causes are often controversial and usually attract not just tongue lashings but threats to my person. 

The recent murder of Asami Nagakiya my position on the protest, and presence at Woodford Square, offered yet another opportunity for vilification. I am not in a popularity contest and I do not have to explain my actions to you or anyone.

Seven years old and a Primary School student, eager to go to confession and be given penance of three Hail Marys and a Glory Be. I was unprepared for the priest’s insistence that I tell him if any boy had taken ‘this part of his body and put it into that part of my body’. The question put on repeat with apt display, his reddened face, throaty groans and my obvious confusion. Propelled by unease I ran home to tell my father and to experience the consequences of telling. My father had to be physically restrained from chopping this perpetrator ‘to thy kingdom come’. With my awareness now heightened I would later observe this same priest squeezing the breasts of older girls giving Julie mangoes as you would give treats to a puppy in training.

Sexual abuse has been normalized in our society so even our leaders either cannot recognize it, or refuse to accept their complicity in it. If we have not experienced it personally we have heard so many stories. One which comes to mind is the college student who lost his sanity when in the course of participating in a gang rape discovered that the victim was his sister.

Having served as a public officer I have no qualms about why I should protest when a government official chooses to connect a woman’s murder to her mode of dress and perceived vulgar behaviour.

For too long we have ignored the ugly things that have been part of our daily routine. Women who are patients at St. Ann’s Mental Hospital raped by doctors and senior staffers; and the children born as a result of those rapes. The women seeking ‘a ten days’ made to stand on their heads, naked so that the ‘man in charge’ could pour and drink champagne from their vaginas. The URP foreman’s abuse of power much the same as the medical doctors who violate women in the privacy of their examination rooms.

I protest against the radio personalities who over many years used talent shows to satiate their sexual appetite for children. Against the teachers, who groom students; officials who demand sex for welfare and government housing; those who have children with clients and maintain them on state funds. I protest against men who fathered children with their daughters and granddaughters; and the protection our silence has afforded them.

Those described as decent and upstanding who ravaged their sisters and if mother got in the way she got hers too. I protest against the ‘good wives’ who lure young people to their homes as prey for their husbands. I vehemently protest against those who take advantage of persons with disabilities claiming that they are doing them a favour by having sex with them. The same goes for those who force their domestic helpers to have sex with their differently abled sons.

Several years ago I raised the alarm that adult males were putting cocaine on their penises and children made to lick it off for small change. While they fed their sexual perversion they also guaranteed a new market of addicts. I was accused of sensationalism and booed by those who instead should have joined me in protest. Yes call me crazy as you often do; I am not only crazy I am damn mad and justifiably so. It is as a result of the atrocities that I have witnessed over the many years.

I have had to assist a distraught mother extricate her ten year old son from the grasp of a so called national icon later bestowed with a Trinity Cross. Yet you dare to tell me to be quiet.

Religious leaders are not exempt as the records of the Rape Crisis Society will show. They too have taken sexually abused mothers and children, who come to them for help. One female religious representative chastised me for seeking to stop Child Marriage. She felt that we would be better off teaching our girls how to take care of a husband and ‘not just in the kitchen’.

To whom do I turn when at a Cabinet meeting discussing a gender policy I was threatened with sexual violence by a Minister of Government, cheered on by chuckles of some of his colleagues? I was reminded that I was not too old to be f#amp;*d and that as long as I had a pulse I was fair game. Why should I not protest being shushed by persons responsible for the protection of our children; when one of the highest lawmakers in the land seeks to support sex between first cousins because according to him it is how ‘we’ as children learn to have sex?

I beg you please step away from this protester; you just may be crossing into unsafe territory. After all I survived a Prime Minister who instructed me to put a clause in the Marriage Act which would allow men to marry their child rape victims should they become pregnant. Yes, a get out of jail card for supportive fiends.

The pain of these and other experiences have brought me to a place of selective seclusion. I seek no friends and I have no appetite for polite conversation. I refuse to break bread with known molesters and their supporters. It is your right to knock glasses and cheer on those who rape our treasury or rape our children; it is my right not to.

This country is long overdue for a naked protest; a removal of masks; to strip ourselves bare, take the frock off and stop the obscenity of this long term cover up. For those who choose to stand idly by while our children continue to perish I say to you; please be vulgar and do it without clothes.