There has been a lot of talk on our comment forums regarding
reports of violent acts and who is really responsible for these occurring.
We’re glad that so many people are taking the opportunity to
comment on matters that are reported in the newspaper and our website and that many varying
views are being put out for consumption.
However, we can’t help but notice that in a number of these
comments on two specific situations reported in our Wednesday article ‘Beach
attacks kept quiet’, it seems that certain individuals are set on blaming the
victims of crime for their own circumstances.
The police often puzzle over why people who know something
or who have been victims of crime don’t come forward and speak to them about
what has occurred. Yet, as we have just seen, people who do come forward and
speak out – giving their identities to boot – are often the subject of public
derision and even ridicule.
This is not just a phenomenon relative to the recent
situations of a few people. We see it in criminal court quite often.
Individuals come forward and testify in serious crimes like murder, armed
robbery and rape. Some of these victims or witnesses must have their identities
protected now from their alleged attackers, the courts and police have found.
How many arguments have been made in these cases against the
statements of the victims, all of them can be summed up as “well, they were
asking for it”.
That woman wearing the skimpy dress, she was just asking to
be raped; that guy hanging out with his gang-banger friends, he deserved to be
shot. It may not be phrased exactly that way, but that is the message being
sent loud and clear.
A healthy dose of doubt when dealing with reports of crime
is an absolute must.
However, if a significant segment of the population is
discussing why crime in the Cayman Islands seems to be a problem these days
while at the same time publicly denouncing its alleged victims as liars and
miscreants, this newspaper can’t help but wonder if the problem is partly due
to the community at large.