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Gender-Based Violence and Womens Reproductive Health in Jamaica: A Communications Perspective
Unformatted Document Text:  Gender-Based Violence and Women’s Reproductive Health 17 doesn’t matter if these women are HIV positive or not. The young men especially use force to get whoever they want because they don’t have the skills or the money to get or buy whatever or whoever they want.” When such behavior among young boys is encouraged or reinforced, it becomes hard to change when they are older. The legal system has not been effective either in dealing with such cases. As noted by Suzanne Fflokes (1997) the problem is with the proof of lack of consent, which is notoriously difficult since the nature of the crime does not admit witnesses. She point out that all the law requires is for the man to say that he believed the woman was consenting and he will be will not be found guilty as long as he believed consent was given, which is again difficult to proof. Fflokes also noted that the common law also grants husbands immunity from a prosecution for rape of their wives. This she argues is crucial particularly as the implications for rape, whether by husband or stranger, now go beyond emotional to include the fear of AIDS which is fatal. One may also argue that gender violence is an outcome of a combination and consequently of social-cultural factors, economic conditions, drugs use and abuse in the country. A female media consultant and freelance Journalist who has written a great deal on the topic vividly stated: “Violence to us is in born that is why people tell each other jokingly all the time ‘I will slap you.’ If you tell someone that in a different country you can be taken to jail for threatening but to us that is normal. When we talk of sexual harassment, no-body really means what means. Men touch women everyday or the time but to us that is no big deal. I have a colleague who won’t pass without touching me and I don’t mind but if I was in America of Europe, he might loose his job for sexual harassment. To us harassment probably means real violence where women are stripped and raped… and talking of violence, it is probably related to our culture. We train our men to be depended on women and to get everything they want. When they don’t get it they use force no matter what it is… One thing that amazes me about our men is that when you get close to a man he expects you to support him. After getting to know your name they will ask you ‘when can I come and taste your cooking?’ you know, instead of taking you out to dinner or just at a nice place to have some fun together… If you don’t let them they will force themselves to your house and getting them out will be another big fight. Feminists and other women’s health and rights activists have associated it to male chauvinism and lack of empowerment. According to Glenda Simms, the executive director of the Bureau of women’s affairs argues in her regular newspaper column that most of these crimes are committed by men who are driven by power, control and misogyny, a deep seated hatred for women and girls most of these crimes are

Authors: Muturi, Nancy.
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Gender-Based Violence and Women’s Reproductive Health
17
doesn’t matter if these women are HIV positive or not. The young men especially use force to get whoever
they want because they don’t have the skills or the money to get or buy whatever or whoever they want.”
When such behavior among young boys is encouraged or reinforced, it becomes hard to change
when they are older. The legal system has not been effective either in dealing with such cases. As noted by
Suzanne Fflokes (1997) the problem is with the proof of lack of consent, which is notoriously difficult
since the nature of the crime does not admit witnesses. She point out that all the law requires is for the man
to say that he believed the woman was consenting and he will be will not be found guilty as long as he
believed consent was given, which is again difficult to proof. Fflokes also noted that the common law also
grants husbands immunity from a prosecution for rape of their wives. This she argues is crucial
particularly as the implications for rape, whether by husband or stranger, now go beyond emotional to
include the fear of AIDS which is fatal.
One may also argue that gender violence is an outcome of a combination and consequently of
social-cultural factors, economic conditions, drugs use and abuse in the country. A female media
consultant and freelance Journalist who has written a great deal on the topic vividly stated:
“Violence to us is in born that is why people tell each other jokingly all the time ‘I will slap you.’
If you tell someone that in a different country you can be taken to jail for threatening but to us that
is normal. When we talk of sexual harassment, no-body really means what means. Men touch
women everyday or the time but to us that is no big deal. I have a colleague who won’t pass
without touching me and I don’t mind but if I was in America of Europe, he might loose his job
for sexual harassment. To us harassment probably means real violence where women are stripped
and raped… and talking of violence, it is probably related to our culture. We train our men to be
depended on women and to get everything they want. When they don’t get it they use force no
matter what it is… One thing that amazes me about our men is that when you get close to a man
he expects you to support him. After getting to know your name they will ask you ‘when can I
come and taste your cooking?’ you know, instead of taking you out to dinner or just at a nice place
to have some fun together… If you don’t let them they will force themselves to your house and
getting them out will be another big fight.

Feminists and other women’s health and rights activists have associated it to male chauvinism and
lack of empowerment. According to Glenda Simms, the executive director of the Bureau of women’s
affairs argues in her regular newspaper column that most of these crimes are committed by men who are
driven by power, control and misogyny, a deep seated hatred for women and girls most of these crimes are


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