We have FAILED our women and girls

Presentation1United and Strong Inc got the opportunity to view a recent “pornographic video” circulating social media, featuring some level of sexual abuse of a young lady.

While some may seem to have dubbed this a form of “pornography’ we prefer to refer to it as the humiliation, torture and abuse of a young woman.  We are not too concerned with whether this was a recent or past situation but more so the continued objectification, sexual harassment and abuse experienced by our women and girls in Saint Lucia.  Such treatment appears to be part of the fabric of a young woman’s life and seems to be an accepted norm.

Too often such behaviors are described as “normal stuff” that “men do” while at the same time fostering in our women a culture of tolerating what “just happens” and where they are criticized for not successfully maneuvering men’s aggressive sexual behavior.  We somehow accepted a behavior where women play into the myth that “men will be men” and that men are unable to contain their sexual desires the way women do.

As men, we must accept the reality that we have failed and continue to fail our women, our daughters and our mothers.  We have bought into the belief that such behavior is what makes us “men”.  Even crazier is the apparent reality that women themselves are not being each other’s keeper.  Too often victims are belittled by their peers, holding them responsible for their victimization.

What is most disheartening to United and Strong Inc is the fact women in our upper echelons of government are doing very little to curb the impact of such crimes on their fellow women.  We have seen the many comments of being “empathetic” to women during times of crisis or when it’s politically appropriate.

If indeed our elected female Members of Parliament and female Ministers are “empathetic” towards their fellow women then:

  • Why remain muted when a cabinet colleague was involved in an alleged sexual misconduct?

  •  Why make comments that the best place for a new born baby was at a make-shift nursery at the Bordelais Correctional Facility?

  •  Why is that Victoria Hospital can’t have a separate examination room for victims of sexual violence?

  •  Why is it so difficult to have a full-time Social worker/Counselor stationed at the Office of the Vulnerable Persons Unit (VPT)?

United and Strong challenges the female Parliamentarians and Ministers to reflect a difference in how they engage the electorate and not become tangled in the “boy clubs” persona of our political parties.  We urge you to cast aside your political colors and initiate realistic activities that would lend to the safety and security of women within your communities.

We further challenge you to be bold and recognize the work United and Strong has been and continues to do with not just LGBT persons but women.  We open our doors to you, so you can engage the many recipients of our Red Light Project and other initiatives.

As a civil society organisation, we are committed to creating a future free from sexual violence and believe every individual has a role to play in this vision. All forms of bias, prejudice and oppression obstruct the mission of ending sexual violence.  We look forward to your willingness in partnering with United and Strong Inc and creating a conducive environment for national growth and development.

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