I wanted to stay silent on this issue. I wanted to ignore what was happening. I wanted to remain uninvolved politically in such a touchy subject.
But I couldn’t.
I am a woman after all, and I do have to live in a society where these issues are prevalent and these opinions given places of authority.
Let me shed some light.
Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago has just been concluded. Most citizens and visitors are on a high from the euphoria they just experienced.
Carnival is Bacchanal…. Or so the song says.
Carnival is colour and mas and WOMAN!
Almost every soca and party song played is dedicated to women and their figures and the gyrating movements performed with their hips.
Carnival is a catharsis….. A time of release from everyday stress…. A time to own and celebrate your sexuality…. The only time celebrating your sexuality is not only allowed but encouraged.
This year, after Carnival news broke that a female masquerader was found dead around the savannah.
Ok, another dead body….. Sad and unfortunate but I’m sorry to say the nation would probably not have been in outrage if it wasn’t for the prompting from the Port of Spain Mayor Mr Tim Kee.
You see this misguided gentleman made a statement urging women to take responsibility for their lewd and vulgar conduct.
Now, in essence he is correct in cautioning women against such behaviour.
Now the nation is up in arms and most feminists and women’s rights activists are calling for his removal as the mayor of the capital city.
Now before I give my opinion I will simply make statements.
Women have the right to behave in any manner they wish provided that it is legal.
Women also have the responsibility to ensure that they don’t unnecessarily place themselves in risky situations.
Men do NOT have the right to rape or kill ANYONE.
The mayor did NOT say that the woman was behaving in a lewd or vulgar manner. Neither did he say that she ‘look for that’
Trinidad and Tobago’s culture and Carnival Festivities encourage somewhat vulgar behaviour by women.
A woman was just killed enjoying our cultural Festivities when our Mayor of POS made insensitive comments which led the public to believe/infer that he blamed this woman’s untimely demise on her presumed conduct during said festivities.
The Mayor does not know this woman personally and could not know what her conduct was like during these Celebrations.
The woman, it was revealed, was a Japanese national who came to play pan (our national instrument). She does this yearly.
The mayor’s statement can now potentially cause the country international embarrassment.
Now for my opinion.
This would have been tricky for me because I do believe that we as women should take caution and act responsibly so as not to attract any dangers.
Of course this ranges from displays of eroticism (unless that’s what you do for work) to travelling in groups to having at home security systems, especially if living alone.
However, noone has the right to sexually force themselves on another person, despite what conduct that person displays.
And further we do not know how this woman was enjoying the carnival as most of us do not know her personally or saw her on the road.
Let’s go further, as a society we have failed when our men believe that they can commit acts violently against our women. We have also failed when our politicians instead of condemning the perpetrators of these acts, make insensitive statements against female sexuality.
As a politician, Mr Tim Kee, I don’t believe you meant to associate lewd sexual conduct as the cause of this lady’s death but I do believe you should have known better.
Now Mr Tim Kee you have some work to do. If you don’t want to step down, you need to now go on a campaign to re-educate men about their responsibility to control themselves in the presence of beautiful women.
You good sir need to convince the public and female sexual victims that you are not slut shaming them, especially without knowing their individual situations.
The issue of female sexuality is one where education is sorely lacking.
Look out for my story with my brush with sexual prejudice for the past Carnival season.
Please share your comments and opinions below.