As a lesbian I have often spoken of myself as a survivor of targeted sexual violence; unfortunately today I don’t feel too much like a survivor, rather an angry victim.
After my attack I decided to be brave and report the matter to the police. The first policewomen from CISOCA (Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse) I reported it to told me that I “should leave this lifestyle and go back to church.” I could have stopped there, but I decided to go to Spanish Town CISOCA; there the women were much more professional.
I remember clearly Sergeant Lowe-Cox putting down the paper I had handed to her of the written account. She looked up in the air and said, “Jesus Christ, another one.”
I remember the days going back and forth to Spanish Town CISOCA with Faddy, taking the police to the scene, and hearing the male officers ask one of the accompanying CISOCA ladies if I was a sodomite. Finally, they were asked to identify items that were stolen from me.
I remember the day I was called and asked to come in and do an identification. I remember being driven to the “100 Man” Police Station in Portmore after hours of waiting in Spanish Town. I remember meeting another bisexual woman who had also suffered the same. I remember going into that room and looking at the lineup of men before me. I remember as I eliminated them one by one till I was down to two. I asked the officer in charge of the proceedings to ask both men to hold out their hands. I remember requesting that they each say, “Pussy-hole come here.” I remember standing directly across from number six and looking at his eyes. I remember stooping and holding my head as the pressure mounted.
I remember getting up, I remember calling the number.
I remember the day Mommy and I went to court downtown. I remember trying to eat but the food was stuck in my throat. I remember feeling like some one was kicking at my chest and squeezing my heart.
I remember stepping into that courtroom. I remember the questions the accused’s lawyer asked to make me seem as if I didn’t know what I was talking about. I remember pointing at and identifying in the court room the same person I had identified at the line up. I remember hearing for the first time his name. I remember as he sat there and tried to intimidate me; I remember refusing to crack.
I remember coming out of the court room feeling as though I’d done a service to myself – but also for other women who are afraid to come forward.
I remember being called one night by Constable Kimeisha Smith as I spoke with a friend, to be informed of the decision. I was happy; it was the first time I truly felt like a survivor.
Today I went searching for the case and what I found has made me angry. It has made me feel, all over again, like a victim; but now, today, in this post, I am taking it back. I am not a victim.
Why am I angry? I’m angry because I was sexually assaulted, forced to do oral sex at gun point, yet the closest thing that resembles the assault that …… was charged with was assault at common law, and assault with intent to rape, for which he was sentenced to two years. He was sentenced to ten and fifteen years respectively for illegal possession of firearm and robbery with aggravation. Ten and fifteen years? What about the assault to my person? Two years!? Two?
I’m also angry because he was acquitted in 2011. He was acquitted and the police didn’t have the decency to contact me and say, Ms. Jackson, the man who saw you in court, the man you identified, the man you sent to prison, has been acquitted.
I am angry because as I searched I learnt that this man in 2008 was arrested for reportedly assaulting a 21-year-old woman, while he was out on bail for a previous sexual offense. That was his 110th offense while out on bail – forty of which were rape-related.
Today I am forced to truly question the value Jamaica places on women. The police continue to ask persons to report sexual violence, but how can we? How can we be sure we will be safe after reporting? Will there be another acquittal without so much as informing the survivors either before or after?
Is Jamaica serious about wanting to reduce violence against women and girls?
I decided to write this note because it is what I can do to take back my power. I’ve written it in the hopes that maybe, if there are other survivors of sexual violence who have experienced the same, you will talk up and not keep quiet; be a survivor not a victim.
I’ve also written with the hopes that maybe – just maybe – another lesbian or bisexual survivor will see this and report it. I want you to know that you are not alone.
I’ve written because I will no longer keep quiet. I will no longer accept my role as causing this on myself. I will no longer sit in shame. I am a survivor.
- Angelina Jolie Addresses UN On Sexual Violence (news.sky.com)
- Aawaz – Speak up against sexual violence! (shilpaconnects.wordpress.com)
- Downloads Proud of ME: Speaking out against Sexual Violence and HIV e-book (acjeyam.wordpress.com)