Tue | Aug 14, 2018

Music and More| Raped (or ravaged) by riddim

Published:Saturday | July 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke/Gleaner Writer
There ought to be a charge of some sort levelled at those who play sexually explicit songs at high volume in public places outside of an established event.

There is an act that I call riddim rape , which I first saw at a gas station on Mannings Hill Road, St Andrew, at a time when there were still Shell-branded service stations in Jamaica.

A car with a few men on board and tunes pumping, drove in not to get fuel, but parked near a wall to expand an all-man hang-out that was already in swing. The song that was being played was sexually explicit, and it was being played loudly in a public place for everyone to hear. That was offensive in itself, but that is not the offence of riddim rape.

That happened when one of the men deliberately caught the attention of a woman who had driven in to the gas station to actually get gas. He indicated to her by gesture and started to sing along with the tune describing an extremely vigorous sexual act in detail.

She was obviously discomfited and he was obviously thrilled. And that is riddim rape.

It happened to be a dancehall song, but it could have been rap, it could have been R & B, it could have been calypso, it could have been any song that has strong sexual content that is deliberately directed at an unwilling recipient with the clear intention of forcing a sexual connection upon that person.

 

Frequent occurrence

 

I have seen it happen many times since that first observation, especially in heavy traffic when a man pulls up beside a woman in a stationary car, delivers the tune detailing his desire, and stares at her.

The accustomed progression is that she winds up her window and he smiles in satisfaction at having been an effective violator. I have seen it on public transportation (JUTC bus) where a schoolboy with a cell phone has made his thoughts about a schoolgirl very clear through the song he was playing at high volume and the accompanying staredown.

Perhaps ravaging would be a more appropriate term (although penetration of the mind is not to be ignored). Call it what you will, rape or ravaging by riddim, it is nauseating and there ought to be a charge of some sort levelled at those who play sexually explicit songs at high volume in public places outside of an established event (for which the rules on volume should be enforced), even if there is no stare and/or gesture associated with it. Yeah, man. Just deal with the riddim in the first case and there will be no need to sort out the rape and ravaging part.

melville.cooke@gleanerjm.com