I was very moved by this letter to the editor of Jamaica’s Gleaner after the arrest of activist Latoya Nugent. So here it is in honor of Jamaica’s women struggle against abuse.
THE EDITOR, Sir:
On March 15, 2017, I felt every part of me breaking. I saw all my woman parts running to the hills. I have no hope in the justice system, and I cry for those who have sought justice but were silenced, directly or indirectly.
The arrest of Tambourine Army co-founder Latoya Nugent speaks volumes. It says, how dare you host such a march? How dare you decide to speak? How dare you seek change when change isn’t needed. You should be raped, violated and abused, for rape culture has no end!
It is not being said in those words, of course. But the arrest of Latoya Nugent, who has been charged with the use of a computer for malicious communication under the Cyber Crime Act, after naming an alleged sex offender, is telling me just that!
The State has apparently forgotten its promises towards gender parity when handling Ms Nugent’s case. The arrest of Paul Gardner and Jermaine Gibson, our dearly beloved Moravian ministers accused of sexual crimes, were handled more delicately. Ms Nugent, however, had six armed police officers visiting her home in search of her last weekend. Her weapons of mass destruction? A tambourine, her voice and her computer.
On March 14, she was placed in a police car, and later denied visits and medical assistance when it was apparent she needed it! This is a violation of human rights.
Maybe I had it wrong, or I am too bold in my beliefs to believe that such a patriarchal state would seek gender parity and equality for all, even when the society isn’t watching. For it’s the same state that breeds patriarchy and classism that uses the law to blame the survivors and protect their perpetrators.
I am told to be silent, for my voice has no power or place in this country. Because if I do speak out, or fight to protect my person, the State will be coming for me.
But I have news for our justice system and those who seek to silence us: THE WORLD IS WATCHING! We will not be silenced. We will continue to fight and hold our tambourines high.
We are fighting back! Enough is enough!