Archive | February 8, 2017

Public School System Exposed for Reporting Parents to CPS for Homeschooling*

Public School System Exposed for Reporting Parents to CPS for Homeschooling*

By Claire Bernish

Homeschooling your child in New York City could earn a visit from Child Protective Services for neglect — even if you’ve followed all procedures required by the public school system to withdraw from its programs.

Tanya Acevedo, as The Federalist reports, experienced firsthand the punitive bureaucracy in place, essentially deeming all homeschooling parents child abusers.

Acevedo withdrew her child from school this winter, filing all necessary paperwork required by the government. But that wasn’t enough to stave off a visit from CPS, who showed up at her residence unannounced to investigate allegations of “educational neglect.”

“After Tanya let them in,” the Federalist explains,

“a CPS investigator insisted that they interview her child in private, and inspected their apartment, including a look inside Tanya’s refrigerator — standard practice for a home under investigation for ‘neglect.’ The officer left Tanya with stern instructions to produce documents and her child the next day at the CPS office.”

Acevedo wasted no time in contacting the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) for assistance with her case, and parsing out the New York Public School District’s mountain of red tape to see where she might have erred.

In an interview, Acevedo told HSLDA she had indeed filed all the necessary paperwork — even sending two required forms by certified mail, among other meticulous measures.

“She had followed all the applicable laws to withdraw her son from public schools and begin homeschooling,” the Federalist continues, but the “school district had not recorded the paperwork she’d filed, so her son began accruing ‘absences’ that eventually triggered the CPS investigation.”

Administrative ‘errors’ similar to Acevedo’s turned out to be strikingly common.

HSLDA vice president of litigation, Jim Mason, dove into records after being astonished by Acevedo’s case, and, as he puts it, “What I found appalled me.

“Family after family have found themselves in legal limbo because the central office simply cannot or will not follow the timelines in the regulation. More than one homeschooling family told me they had been turned over to CPS because of the office’s delayed handling of the homeschooling paperwork.

“The injustice against homeschooling families in New York City can no longer be tolerated. On December 5, HSLDA filed a civil rights lawsuit against New York City public schools over their systematic mistreatment of homeschooling families. We are asking for money damages and for a court to order the New York City bureaucracy to simply follow New York’s homeschooling regulation.”

Mason found homeschooling families aren’t dealing with their own school districts, as regulations dictate, because New York City consolidated all five boroughs’ homeschool information into one office — an underfunded, understaffed office where lost paperwork is a routine occurrence.

Worse, the central office controls the attendance database, relating to homeschooling, for the entire city.

While Acevedo had informed both the central office and the school before withdrawing her child, administrative and bureaucratic obstacles veritably guaranteed the boy would remain technically enrolled and accruing absences with each passing day. A certain number of absences, whether legitimate or not, trigger a report to CPS, alerting to possible ‘educational neglect.’

The fact so many homeschooling families find themselves in Acevedo’s situation — a bloated and self-important government deems itself fitter to educate your kids than you — evinces the New York City system could be set up to derail as many people as possible.

Of course, by creating an onerous process to withdraw children from the government-approved education system adheres to longheld beliefs children taught in the home mature into anti-social, insecure, average achievers — stereotypes proven untrue, if not opposite, in recent years.

Whatever your opinion on homeschooling versus public education, the freedom to choose the method your child is taught should not be left to a government already so clearly biased and intent on taking you out of the equation.

Source*

Related Topics:

Parents Now Being Thrown in Jail in America for Homeschooling Their Children*

Homeschooling Family Sues CPS*

National Educational Association Blasts Homeschooling*

Bored with School, Homeschooling Gave Tanishq what he Needed to Excel*

Police Seize 10 Children from “Off-Grid” Homeschooling Family*

19-year-old Homeschooled pro-Lifer Wins Ontario Election by a Landslide*

Homeschooled 8-Year-Old Starts a Baking Business After Mother Teaches Him the Basics of Entrepreneurship*

CPS Case against Texas Homeschool Family Dismissed but Children are Traumatized*

Gov’t Official Warns Homeschoolers: Prepare For Home Visits*

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The number-one mind-control program at US colleges

Jon Rappoport's Blog

The number-one mind-control program at US colleges

If you’re a college student or have a child at college, read this

The unspoken secret in plain sight

by Jon Rappoport

February 7, 2017

Here is a staggering statistic from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): “More than 25 percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated by a professional for a mental health condition within the past year.”

Let that sink in. 25 percent.

Colleges are basically clinics. Psychiatric centers.

Colleges have been taken over. A soft coup has occurred, out of view.

You want to know where all this victim-oriented “I’m triggered” and “I need a safe space” comes from? You just found it.

It’s a short step from being diagnosed with a mental disorder to adopting the role of being super-sensitive to “triggers.” You could call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. “If I have a mental…

View original post 6,660 more words

Woman Facing Traffic Violation Forced to Give Birth on Jail Floor After Staff Wouldn’t Take Her to Hospital

Woman Facing Traffic Violation Forced to Give Birth on Jail Floor After Staff Wouldn’t Take Her to Hospital

By Ronn Blitzer

 

A traffic offense turned into a horrific experience for a pregnant woman in Georgia. After being arrested for driving with a suspended license, Jessica Preston was held in jail, despite being eight months pregnant. When she went into labor a month early, jail staff ignored Preston’s requests to go to a hospital, forcing her to deliver her child on the dirty floor of a cell, according to WDIV.

Preston asked three times to be taken to the hospital, informing medical staff at Macomb County Jail that she was about to give birth. But the staff didn’t believe her, and they refused. The baby, Elijha, was born weighing less than five pounds.

Preston’s mother, Linda Preston, was outraged.

“They just left her (to) lay there,” she told WDIV.

“They didn’t care. They just kept saying she wasn’t having the baby, and I don’t know how anybody could say when she was bleeding, ‘You’re not having a baby,’ and that they didn’t send her to the hospital. Who makes that call?”

The baby’s father, Thomas Chastain, missed his son’s birth. “I didn’t get to cut the cord, I didn’t get to hold him,” he said.

Preston’s first child was delivered via emergency C-section, and Elijha’s birth was planned to be done as a C-section for the mother’s safety. Unfortunately, she was unable to do that, since she couldn’t go to the hospital. The baby is reportedly healthy.

Preston, who did not have a prior criminal record, had to go to Macomb County jail when a judge set $10,000 cash bond for her case and she didn’t have the money. She was ordered to remain in custody until her next court date, which was set for five days later. It’s unclear why the judge set such high bail for a first time offense, or why Preston’s license was suspended.

The Macomb County Jail has garnered attention for other troubling incidents that resulted in an investigation. In 2013, 37-year-old mother Jennifer Meyers died of sepsis after being sentenced to 30 days for not paying child support. She developed a fever, and cell mates reportedly tried to treat her with wet cloths while seeking proper treatment, but the jail wouldn’t take her to the hospital. Meyers died after 12 days. The following year, David Stojcevski was hit with a 30-day sentence for missing a court date on a careless driving ticket, and died 17 days in from withdrawal of prescribed medication. He lost 50 pounds during that time, yet staff didn’t take him to the hospital, despite being able to watch his condition deteriorate on security video.

Source*

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Obama’s Policed State

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A Field View of Reality to Explain Human Interconnectedness*

A Field View of Reality to Explain Human Interconnectedness*

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.” –Henry David Thoreau

Is it true the physical world we see with our eyes is the essence or nature of reality? For much of human history, this is what scientists and most people around the world have believed. More recently, however, another view of reality has emerged, one the authors of HeartMath’s new e-book, the Science of Interconnectivity, † contrast with the historic view.

“Classical physics conceived of reality as elementary building blocks made up of solid objects, separated by empty space,” the authors explain.

“This view continues to be most people’s view of reality, including scientists.”

In contrast, they write,

“Physical objects cannot be understood, or observed in isolation, but rather must be viewed as part of a holistic web of interconnectedness in which fields and relationships are pivotal.”

This new view, which HeartMath Institute’s Dr. Rollin McCraty and Annette Deyhle, Ph.D. refer to in their e-book as the “field view of reality,” is shared by a growing number of scientists around the world who are engaged in actively researching it.

The understanding of the world we live in profoundly shifted,” McCraty stated for this article,

“after the discovery of electromagnetic fields and the experimental validation of modern quantum physics.” These have helped to give rise to the field view of reality.

“We can no longer think of reality as little building blocks separated by an empty space,” he said.

“We now know there is no such thing as empty space and that physical objects, including us, do not exist in isolation, but are part of this holistic web of interconnectedness in which fields and relationships are primary.”

HeartMath and the Field View of Reality

The field view ties in closely with research at HeartMath Institute (HMI). The institute has conducted experiments for a number of years to demonstrate the ways in which people are connected with one another through their own individual magnetic fields, which are generated primarily by the brain and, although much more so, the heart.

Examples of these experiments include measurements of an infant’s heart rhythm registering in the brain waves of its mother, and the heart-rhythm coherence of a boy corresponding to an increase in his dog’s heart-rhythm coherence.

In the latter example, a boy and dog were placed in a room together. Then the boy moved to a separate room, which resulted in the dog experiencing chaotic and incoherent heart rhythms, in contrast to when it and the boy were in the same room. The boy was instructed to use a coherence technique to consciously feel feelings of love and care for his dog, which he did after re-entering the room with the dog, while having no physical contact with it. The dog’s heart-rhythm coherence increased significantly.

Through its Global Coherence Initiative, HeartMath also has had success in demonstrating some of the health and behavioral effects of activity in Earth’s magnetic fields.

Other scientists have studied solar and geomagnetic activity and correlated it to changes in blood pressure, blood composition and the physical and chemical state of humans. There are many documented cases in which researchers have attributed increased rates of depression, heart attacks and debilitating conditions to solar and Earth magnetic field activity. (You can learn more about the Global Coherence Initiative and its work at GCI Research.)

solar-system-periodicField View of Reality and a Theory of Everything

Besides being the title of the popular 2014 film about physicist Stephen Hawking, a “theory of everything” also arguably is the Holy Grail of modern physics. Simply explained, physicists hope such a theory, which is more formally referred to as a grand unified theory, would fully explain and link together all physical aspects of the universe.

Now, such an ambitious endeavour, which many physicists project may actually be successful within decades, naturally is far more complicated than the brief description above. The notion of a link, or connection between everything, however, suffices to convey one of its primary purposes, which happens to be a shared purpose with HeartMath’s own research.

Connectedness, or what HMI calls interconnectedness, is an important and primary area of interest today at HeartMath and its Global Coherence Initiative (GCI). This interest has led their scientists in several directions as they explore and seek to validate the central hypotheses they have formulated in their interconnectedness studies.

  1. Human and animal health, cognitive functions, emotions and behaviour are affected by planetary magnetic and energetic fields.
  2. The earth’s magnetic fields are carriers of biologically relevant information that connects all living systems.
  3. Each individual affects the global information field.
  4. Large numbers of people creating heart-centered states of care, love and compassion will generate a more coherent field environment that can benefit others and help offset the current planet-wide discord and incoherence.

As today’s physicists pursue a unified theory that would explain and link together all physical aspects of our universe, HeartMath will continue expanding on its work in the realm of a field view of reality and the interconnectedness of all living things.

“New perspectives are emerging that suggest nonmaterial fields organize and in-form all organisms, including key aspects of our thoughts, emotions and intuitions,” McCraty said. “It is exciting to see new data coming out of our research that shows that we really are deeply connected with each other and with fields of the earth.”

The Science of Interconnectivity e-book is expected to be released around mid-July and will be available for purchase in HeartMath Institute’s online bookstore. Contributors to the current Tree Research Project, which is part of HMI’s ongoing interconnectedness research, can receive a free copy of the e-book.

Source*

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Humanity at the Crossroads: The Crisis in Spiritual Consciousness

The Psychic Roots of Tyranny*

Consciousness Science Kept Hidden*

What Unconditional Love Can Do to a Severely Disabled Child*

Freedom Proves Gravity Subject to Another Force ~ LOVE*

Love’s In Need Of Love Today

We Are All One (Tawhid)

Physics of Tawhid: A Quantum View of the World

Human DNA Tied Mostly to Single Exodus from Africa Long Ago*

White Supremacist Finds Out He Is Part Black*

I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White

Yoga, Race and ‘Colour Blindness’*

In the Beginning was/is Consciousness*

In Greece Shock for Cancer Patients: “Life expectancy” Needed for Prescription Medication*

In Greece Shock for Cancer Patients: “Life expectancy” Needed for Prescription Medication*

Outrage and shock for cancer patients in Greece in need of expensive drugs. Doctors are obliged to mention the patient’s “life expectancy” on the prescription, when it comes to expensive medication. The case of a patient has caused outrage and shocked not only cancer patients but also the medical community.

It was a patient’s lawyer who made the case public in the media.

When the patient went to Greece’s National Agency for Health Care (EOPYY) to receive the special drug, he was told that the doctor needed to have mentioned also his life expectancy on the electronic prescription.

The drug had a cost 0f 3,989 euro. The man from Thessaloniki was suffering from prostate cancer.

The drug, radium Ra 223 dichloride, is a drug designed to treat advanced prostate cancer that has not responded to testosterone-lowering drugs.

The Medical Association of Athens denounced the case as “unacceptable” saying that it was against reason and morals “the moment the patient receives the prescription to see that he has only limited time left.”

In a circular is issued on 13. April 2016, the president of EOPYY had specified the criteria according to which committees for drugs for expensive drugs had to approve compensation of this specific drug for cancer. Among others, the medical documents needed for the approval of the drug was the patients’ life expectancy.

The circular was issued specifically for prostate cancer patients and was mentioning among others that the life expectancy should be greater than one year.

EOPPY president told ANT1 on Wednesday morning that the circular aims to secure the patients’ safety as such patients are serious ill but also the evaluation of the drug.

Oncologists told media, that the indication of  “life expectancy” is indeed needed on the prescription for specific cancer treatments, while “life expectancy” is also contained in the instructions of certain drugs. The reason is that these drugs are highly toxic and therefore they might not have the desired therapeutic effect.

EOPPY president said on Wednesday morning that they will proceed to “modifications to avoid misunderstanding.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer Increases Fatal Risks for Black Men, by 77%*

Vernon Cured Himself from Prostate Cancer*

Alternative Cancer Clinic in Arizona Uses Natural Therapies with High Success Rate*

Doctors Stunned that Testosterone Cures Cancer

Drug Firms’ Plan to Maximize Profits on Cancer, AIDS and Heart Drugs*

The ‘Jewish National Fund’ and Its Role in Israel Thus Palestine*

The ‘Jewish National Fund’ and Its Role in Israel thus Palestine*

Iconic “blue boxes” used for JNF fundraising worldwide. Photo credit: Alan English, CC license.

By Maya Schkolne

On Jan. 18, 2017, Israel’s Yoav police unit, specifically set up in 2012 for tasks related to “Bedouin resettlement,” faced off against residents and activists when it tried to demolish the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran in the Negev region.

This pre-dawn evacuation and destruction involved the use of extreme physical force, stun grenades, pepper spray and rubber and copper bullets. Following the fierce onslaught, resident schoolteacher Yaqub Abu Qi’an and police officer Erez Levy were killed.

The conflict didn’t begin or end in demolition and bloodshed, either. This Bedouin community had already experienced forcible relocation from Khirbet Zubaleh in 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel, which Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba” (Arabic for catastrophe), and which saw more than 700,000 Palestinians expelled from their homes.

With this history of “catastrophe” in the region, media outlets regularly find fault with the policies of the Israeli government, but journalists rarely have much to say about the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), better known as the JNF.

What is the JNF?

According to the “Nakba Files,” a joint project launched by Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (a Palestinian-run NGO based in Haifa), and the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University:

“The JNF is a worldwide network of Zionist charities dedicated to acquiring and settling land on behalf of the Jewish people. The JNF’s Israeli branch is a parastatal organization that enjoys special status under Israeli law in the management of land.”

As one of the key entities designed to ensure the Jewish demographic majority necessary for the solidification of a Jewish state, the roots of the JNF go back to the World Zionist Organization conference in 1901, which envisioned a fund to purchase land in Palestine for transfer to Jews. This ambition turned reality six years later through the official formulation and incorporation of the JNF into a company in Britain. After receiving chartered status to assist Israeli governmental functions in 1953, it obtained sizable swathes of Palestinian land from the Israeli Knesset.

The JNF currently has direct access to approximately 13 percent of pre-1967 land, mainly in the Negev and the Galilee, as it transferred urban land to the state for privatization. Moreover, though the Israeli Land Administration (ILA) administers 93 percent of Israel’s land, the JNF has considerable sway over its programs and policies with representation through 6 of the 14 members (43 percent) of its governing board.

In other words, as the Nakba Files reiterates:

“The JNF ceded management of its own land to the state in exchange for a major share in decision-making power over all state-controlled lands. The petition recently filed by Adalah and its partners challenges the constitutionality of this arrangement.

The JNF’s role on the ILA Council affords it enormous influence over the allocation and use of lands. Israel has one of the highest proportions of state control of land in the world; most of that land is held in long-term leases. A considerable portion of state lands were expropriated from Palestinians — refugees of the 1948 Nakba as well as Palestinians who were displaced from their homes but nevertheless became citizens of Israel.”

In the 2016 film “Junction48” by Israeli-American filmmaker Udi Aloni, a lawyer from Adalah points out the role the JNF plays in displacing Palestinian families from their lands:

Director Udi Aloni’s film @Junction48 features Adalah lawyer explaining role JNF plays in displacing Palestinian families from their lands pic.twitter.com/BPfpRK5h40

— Adalah (@AdalahEnglish) 19 décembre 2016

Indeed, over the rubble and dust that the bulldozers will leave in the wake of Umm al-Hiran, fresh layers of brick and mortar funded by the JNF will construct the town of “Hiran” for Jewish residents.

In response, deputy editor and blogger at 972mag Edo Konrad tweeted:

When people tell you that the term “ethnic cleansing” offends them, tell them about Umm al-Hiran. Tell them it’s happening now, in 2017.

— Edo Konrad (@edokonrad) 18 janvier 2017

The neighboring village of Atir faces a similar fate, and its ruins will be cleared to make way for a JNF-sponsored forest called Yatir.

Once Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel are expelled from their homes, they are cast off to consistently under-resourced township areas such as Hura. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Yossi Maimon, an assistant to the director of the “authority for the settlement and development of the Bedouin,” confirmed on Jan, 16 that “the state is pressing for all the approximately 400 residents of the village to relocate to the nearby township of Hura.”

Atwa Abu al-Kaeean, a 62-year-old resident of Umm Al-Hiran told The Jerusalem Post that police called him five times in the course of 10 days to tell him he must “conclude matters with the authority because we will demolish your home.”

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the state currently refuses to recognize villages that are home to more than half of the 160,000 people in the Negev Bedouin population. As a result, they suffer under the constant threat of demolitions, which is enforced by the Unit for Enforcement in Open Spaces, or the “Green Patrol,” that works in conjunction with the ILA, the JNF, and the Israeli Defence Forces. The Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality lists more than 70 cases of home demolitions and crop destruction that occurred in the Negev in 2016 alone.

The Israeli government insists that these villages are ‘illegal’ and justifies its actions on the basis of “restoring the law.” However, as Ron Dudai, an associate editor of The Journal of Human Rights Practice, who previously worked at B’Tselem and Amnesty International, explained his objections to the government’s position:

Let me emphasize what makes it so appalling is the open, internally legal way in which it is done … an independent and competent supreme court with judges who teach at Yale, which sits calmly and declares those actions to be legal, and eloquent spokespersons who wholly admit to and justify the demolitions, which take place in broad daylight and in front of the media’s cameras. In a sense, it is this constrained character that makes them so distressing.

Various commentators have discussed the ideological background of such practices. Some have pointed out that much of the logic surrounding current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s politics can be traced to the political philosophy of early revisionist Zionist thinker Ze’ev Jabotinsky, whose essay, “The Iron Wall (We and the Arabs),” praised the “virtue” of driving Palestinians to such a state until they lose hope, compelling them to make concessions and accept their oppression:

“My readers have a general idea of the history of colonization in other countries. I suggest that they… see whether there is one solitary instance of any colonization being carried on with the consent of the native population. There is no such precedent.”

To the wider public, the practices of the Jewish National Fund aren’t well-known. But you can’t understand Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land without knowing the JNF.

Source*

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‘Tambourine Army’ Gathers Recruits as Jamaicans’ Anger over Child Sexual Abuse Grows*

‘Tambourine Army’ Gathers Recruits as Jamaicans’ Anger over Child Sexual Abuse Grows*

By Emma Lewis

The Tambourine Army is a new activist group focused on the eventual elimination of sexual abuse against women and girls in Jamaica. Much of the healing work they do with survivors of sex abuse is done by the beach. Photo courtesy the Tambourine Army

The Tambourine Army is a new activist group focused on the eventual elimination of sexual abuse against women and girls in Jamaica. Much of the healing work they do with survivors of sex abuse is done by the beach. Photo courtesy the Tambourine Army

The Tambourine Army is a new activist group focused on the eventual elimination of sexual abuse against women and girls in Jamaica. Much of the healing work they do with survivors of sex abuse is done by the beach. Photo courtesy the Tambourine Army, used with permission.

It all started in late 2016, when a 64-year-old pastor at the Nazareth Moravian Church in Jamaica was arrested after allegedly being found in a car sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl. Since then, many more cases have come to light, usually perpetrated by men in positions of power. The situation has prompted a greater focus on the problem of child sexual abuse — a long-standing but hidden epidemic in Jamaican society that is often kept secret.

As a result, a new activist “army” has formed, with a strong mission. The Tambourine Army’s Facebook page defines the group as “a radical movement that was formed organically out of an urgent recognition to advocate differently for the rights of women and girls”.

Headed by the founder of WE-Change, the women’s affiliate of LGBT rights group J-FLAG, the name derives from a January 9 incident during a protest by survivors of sexual abuse at the Nazareth Moravian Church. The WE-Change founder became angry and hit the leader of the Moravian Church in Jamaica, Dr. Paul Gardner, on the head with a tambourine, alleging that he had abused her partner as a child. Dr. Gardner and his Vice President Jermaine Gibson resigned soon afterwards and have since also been charged with the sexual abuse of minors, leaving the Moravian Church in disarray.

On her personal Facebook page, the “captain” of the Tambourine Army, Stella Gibson, wrote poignantly about one of her group’s key concerns:

“When a little girl tells you that a man has touched her inappropriately, or that he molested her…When a woman tells you that a man raped her, or that he sexually harassed her…Why do we first question the veracity of that experience that may have taken much bravery and vulnerability and nakedness for the little girl or the woman to share? Why do we then consider how damaging this must be to the man’s character?

When a little boy tells you that a man has touched him inappropriately, or that he molested him or that he raped him…What makes us first believe the boy, become enraged and begin to do everything in our power to get justice for that little boy?

Why can’t we first believe our girls and our women too, and do everything in our power to get justice for them? Why?

Why don’t we at all times, in all circumstances shame the perpetrator and provide healing, care and support for survivors – all survivors?

What is it about a man’s reputation that becomes so critical when he is accused of perpetrating sexual violence against women and girls that we wilfully and sometimes blindly disregard the very humanity of our women and girls?

What kind of society have we have created for ourselves?

Where is the protection of the value and dignity of our women and girls?

I want a different kind of Jamaica for women and girls. And I hope the #TambourineArmy will create that different Jamaica that is needed.

To that end, the #TambourineArmy has put out a call for volunteers as part of its aim to build “one of the largest coalitions of organisations and individuals in Jamaica working to remove the scourge of sexual abuse, rape and all other forms of sexual violence against our children and our women.”

The Army is gaining support, with 80-plus Jamaicans signing up. Human rights lawyer and Chevening Scholar Tenesha Myrie-Condell shared:

“Have to take a moment to recognize and celebrate the amazing and far- reaching activism of WE-Change and especially Stella Gibson. On bringing different stakeholders together, working on and highlighting issues concerned with sexual violence WE-Change is bringing what I will call a new wave of activism to Jamaica! It is honest and non-polite. Absolutely love it!!

Tambourine Army logo

Tambourine Army logo

 

One of the Army’s tactics has been the #SayTheirNames hashtag, through which women are being encouraged to come forward with their stories of sexual abuse by naming the perpetrators. However, not all Jamaicans have endorsed this radical method, questioning the legal and ethical implications of the campaign. While blogger and academic Annie Paul supported the concept in her newspaper column, she also referred to a television current affairs show in which host Simon Crosskill expressed his reservations:

“‘You can’t allow women to name whoever they feel like,’ he kept protesting, although none of us was suggesting anything remotely like that. No one had said the names of anyone we ‘felt’ like including should be listed. What we had said was that a victim of rape or sexual abuse MUST, and has the right to, call the name of the aggressor in question. Asking victims to name the perpetrators who have harmed them is surely a very basic and fundamental rule to live by.

But my friend, the TV host, wouldn’t countenance the thought of naming and shaming at all, and he wasn’t alone in this. Other prominent journalists have expressed the same opinion. The perpetrator should be reported to the police and have his day in court, they insist. The judiciary must be the ultimate arbiter of guilt, and only then should names be revealed. This despite the fact that the subject had come up in the context of a dysfunctional justice system that more often than not fails to find the accused guilty, particularly when the perpetrator is a man of influence and standing.

On the march

The Army is not just about keyboard activism. Despite the expected challenges, it is already on the march. On February 6, there was a “wear black” campaign as a sign of protest. The group is also planning a Survivor Empowerment March on March 11, in solidarity with the #LifeinLeggings movement. At the march, the group will also present its action plan for change, through partnership with survivors, non-governmental organizations, the media, and the general public.

When it comes to helping survivors, work has already started — the Tambourine Army hosts Healing Circles for survivors. Much of the rehabilitation and support sessions happen by the beach, which the group believes has the power to soothe and restore. Just as importantly, the Army has been mobilizing individuals, groups and organizations to lobby the government to make much needed changes to The Sexual Offences Act which is currently under review, urging Jamaicans to submit recommendations, questions and concerns to the relevant Parliamentary Committee by February 28.

Other organizations are also getting involved. Eve for Life Jamaica, which works with young mothers who are survivors of sexual abuse and spearheaded the #nuhguhdeh campaign aimed at protecting children from predatory older men, came up with an additional hashtag: #16protectionnotpermission, referring to the age of consent.

Building on the momentum, The 51% Coalition — Women in Partnership for Development and Empowerment — has organized a “Meeting of the Minds” on February 7, at which they hope to discuss the many perspectives on violence against women and girls.

Meanwhile, Reverend Clarke, the first Moravian pastor to be charged, appeared in court last week. He was greeted by a number of female supporters who berated the media covering the case. His victim and another sibling (from an impoverished family of ten) are now in state care. Sadly, stories of violence against women by current or former partners continue to appear in the news, as they did last year.

The problem of the sexual abuse of Jamaican girls is an oft-repeated story that is as much about social justice, deep rural poverty, and the plight of vulnerable children as it is about the perpetrators, who are often respected members of the community. Whether the Tambourine Army ultimately wins the battle for radical steps to change hearts and minds — and the status quo — remains to be seen.

Source*

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