Ann Marie stood shaking and sobbing in a quiet side hallway inside the stately Parliament building recently as powerful people walked by oblivious to her pain.
The reason for Ann Marie’s tears relates to her failure to get anyone in power anywhere in London to help with the source of her wrenching pain: the 2005 rape of her eldest son by police in the Stoke Newington section of London.
“We write letters, lots of letters and get no answers. We write MP’s [Members of Parliament] and they do nothing. Deep down I’m deaddead,” Ann Marie said with an accent richly thick of her native Jamaica while staring blankly out a window.
“De four police mohn who raped me son, dem still walk on de street,” said Ann Marie, a dark-skinned woman with a small diamond stud in her nose.
Ann Marie and her three sons now live in hiding arranged by a London activist organization due to harassment from police including some of those involved in this alleged assault.
“Those police tell me they do what they want, when they want and we’re not afraid of you,” said Ann Marie, who said she’s terrified.
This incident occurred during a Stop & Search, Ann Marie said.
Stop and Search is a procedure that police contend is vital for anti-crime /anti-terrorism enforcement but this procedure has drawn criticism from non-whites across London as frequently discriminatory, similar to Driving While Black enforcement practices in the US.
Ann Marie’s son, Roger, stood about twenty-five feet from his mother, pacing around in a circle.
Since the incident, Ann Marie and others say that Roger,24, is a shattered man often found at his mother’s side.
Minutes before retreating to the hallway, Ann Marie had stood up and told her story during a question-&-answer session at a public briefing in a Parliament Committee Room on the subject of abuses endured by women facing deportation entitled “Misjudging asylum, rape & detention.”
Many females seek asylum resulting from being. Rapes in their homelands lead many females to seek asylum in England. Authorities however routinely reject asylum claims disbelieving the rape claim, briefing participants said.
“Rape survivors face discrimination in asylum claims,” said Cristel Amiss, of Black Women’s Rape Action Project (BWRAP), the first presenter at the briefing.
John McDonnell, a Member of Parliament’s House of Commons, presided at the briefing. Three members of Parliaments House of Commons also attended.
Jane Musisi gave a chilling account of deportation deprivations.
Speaking softly, this Ugandan woman told of authorities snatching her breast-feeding baby during detention preceding a deportation. The deportation stranded three of Musisi’s children in Uganda, where her teenaged daughter was raped while trying to find work to support her younger siblings.
Ann Marie successfully blocked an unusual attempted deportation proceeding against her that an activist familiar with her case said was retaliation by police for Ann Marie pursuing a complaint against the police who assaulted her son.
“They were trying to deport the evidence. She has all the witness statements and they were trying to destroy her case,” said BWRAP’s Cristel Amiss, who is working with Ann Marie.
“Who would think that something like this can happen in 21st Century England,” Amiss continued. “The government invests a lot of money on gate keepers to give the impression that these things do not happen.”
A flyer announcing the briefing referenced Ann Marie’s case.
This flyer listed “a mother [facing deportation] despite pursuing a complaint against Stoke Newington Police for raping her son,” as an example of success in the widening campaign to stop deportation abuses.
Ironically, while Ann Marie and Roger stood in the hallway outside Committee Room 12, one of the Parliament Members giving a cold shoulder to her pleas walked by.
Interestingly, MP Diane Abbott, the first black women ever elected to Parliament, receives international acclaim for supporting progressive and anti-racist causes.
Abbott, for example, garnered praise for supporting the “Scrap Sus” campaign to bar racist implementation of Stop-&-Search against black youth.
Niki Adams, of the London based Legal Action for Women, ran over to Abbott, asking her about assisting Ann Marie.
Adams said Abbott politely requested receipt of a letter on Ann Marie’s matter.
Ann Marie said Abbott previously dismissed her request for assistance, contending police would not commit such an act. Abbott represents the area where Ann Marie lived before going into hiding.
Sarah Calloway, who works with the Women of Color section of the Global Women’s Strike, comforted Ann Marie in the hallway.
Calloway, who was born in the US, said much Stop-&-Search program violence goes unreported because there is little follow-up by authorities to complaints from black citizens.
Ann Marie’s rape allegation does not surprise Calloway given the physical assaults common during Stop-&-Search enforcement.
“There is a lot of violence that goes unreported. People say who can they report it to because this is the police,” Calloway said while standing outside Parliament after the briefing, as tourist took pictures of the famous building.
According to the London Metropolitan Police Website, the use of Stop-&-Search powers “allows the police to tackle crime and anti-social behavior to prevent more serious crimes occurring.”
Sexual assaults by police are a small and usually unreported aspect of police abuse in the US, according to studies, including one submitted last summer to UN human rights investigators.
Ann Marie, during her Q&A session remarks, told the packed briefing that she had reported the rape to police and police told her they would keep matters in confidence while they investigated.
However, a short time after informing police, police began harassing her at home and where she worked.
“I complained and they put me in prison,” she said about the attempted deportation, while standing in the side hallway, bottling rage from frustration.
Asked to describe the assault, rape victim Roger said unresponsively, “I just want to live my life. They try to destroy methey do things to you.”
Ann Marie said her son “doesn’t speak well” since the incident.
“He’s confused,” she said motherly, her face contorting slightly.
“The police say they will tell people in Jamaica that my son is a batty-boy,” Ann Marie said.
Batty-boy is Jamaican slang for a homosexual mana despised status in some sections of Jamaica.
Ann Marie said she really feels “bad about” what happened to her son and worse about her inability to hold offending police accountable.
“I’m a single Mom. The police are targeting me.”
Linn Washington Jr. is a columnist for The Philadelphia Tribune newspaper. He is currently in London conducting an academic program.