Even as the criminal case against Henry Greene has taken center stage with numerous calls for him to resign, rightfully so, and for justice to be served, these have a hallow ring coming from our political circles. Inherent in the case of Greene is a case of violation of our women by those in power. And whereas the credibility of the victim was on trial in court instead of the act of the perpetrator, we must not be fooled by the exoneration. The court determines legal innocence or guilt based on the evidence presented, it is not an absolute rule that he did not perpetuate an undesirable act. The case brought against him only ruled that in its stated form it was irrational to proceed with the charge for rape.
The concern here is that those who seek justice do so from political lens and not from heartfelt concern for the disempowerment of women. The saga of Henry Greene and the “off with his head campaign” reeks of double standards. Our women are being used to front the call for justice, even as some in so doing are inflicting deeper wounds on the victim by repeating the salacious details they themselves condemned the Chief Justice for doing in Court. The masquerade playing out before our eyes is disgusting. This is not about rape, violation and abuse of women!
Reading the Chief Justice’s ruling it speaks to the case of a woman with psychosocial and economic issues; a woman who society has failed, and justice requires knowing that she needs to heal from the trauma of being engaged in what she claimed was an unwilling act, being able to prove her case, and being exposed in the media stripped of dignity and respect. One notes Greene’s character was not placed on trial even though it is flawed by previous involvements of a similar nature as stated by his colleagues, even though he was fingered as corrupt and connected to narco-criminals as per U.S reports. Greene must go, but justice will only be served when the environment is created to minimize and ultimately eliminate the abuses meted out to women….
Some of our women enable this abuse by fronting the charade for ‘women’s rights’ even as they continue to be silent, comfortable or cowered to tell the men at the helm of their political organizations and in power that they are violating their rights, lying to them, and using them as evident with the disregard for the constitutional mandates and in the case of APNU their manifesto promises. In fact, these men are active participant in women dis-empowerment! APNU in its Manifesto p. 16, committed that, “APNU will work to effect genuine 50:50 equality in Parliament, and as a proactive step in this direction commits to the global standard for the balance between women and men in governing bodies which is 40/60-that is, neither sex should have less than 40% or more than 60 % representation.” APNU did not deliver!
One must also remember that APNU leader first declared his desire for a woman Prime Ministerial candidate yet proposed no female for the lineup and settled for a man because evidently no woman was good enough. A discriminatory act that all remain silent about. Note this is no different than the PPP who couldn’t find any African good enough to be ambassadors.,we were all appalled and hastened to condemn even as the violation of our women continue by those who rightly condemned the PPP violation of Africans. In 2006 the PNC had 45% women representation in parliament. This is significantly eroded under APNU.
The constitution mandates “at least a minimum of one-third” representation of women in the national top up and geographic seats. APNU has decreased women’s numerical strength in the highest decision making forum of our land (parliament)- from 45% in 2006 to the lower 30%. We know numbers matter as they matter for the parliamentary majority and minority status we see post 2011 elections. If numbers are significant to political parties empowerment, they are also significant to women empowerment. The women of APNU must stop the double standards; stop being the mindless vessels for political activism that denies them their rightful place in the society and actively pursue the miniaturizing of their voice/representation.
Men seem to want empowerment for themselves but not for women and this retrogressive step must be resisted! Women must be actively involved in the struggle to protect themselves and their children by struggling for empowerment. By having their voices heard at the national decision making levels they can determine the environment they exist in and where trials of violation and abuse of women and children are held. They must start demanding their involvement will only be hinged on putting systems in place to correct and avoid violations of self and in the sisterhood, now and in the future, starting with those needing their support!