Time for #MeToo Jamaica

Time for #MeToo Jamaica

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Girls Who Know Ja (GWK Ja) is a grass roots female empowerment movement spearheaded by young people across Jamaica between the ages of 14-24. Members of our movement have been monitoring the recent statements by Minister Chuck regarding sexual violence and we felt it necessary to offer our youth views on this very important topic.

We never imagined that a sitting minister of justice, in 2020, would say: “We don't want the situation that now happens in the #MeToo Movement in the US, where 30 years later you talk about, 'I was harassed in the elevator'...if you don't complain within 12 months, please, cut it out.”

While it is not our duty to educate the minister of justice on human rights issues such as these, it is vital that we highlight the history and importance of the #MeToo Movement. In short, the Me Too movement was founded in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly black women, girls, and other young women of colour from low-wealth communities, find pathways to healing. The full history and vision of the movement can be found at https://metoomvmt.org/about/#history.

Despite what the minister unfortunately said, we absolutely do need this movement in Jamaica. Recently, we have seen brave survivors from varying professions and backgrounds share their #MeToo experiences on social media, and for that we applaud them. We have also observed the widespread pushback against the minister's archaic way of thinking about these extremely sensitive issues, and this gives us hope for the future of the Jamaican society.

The issue of sexual violence is pervasive in Jamaica, and any attempt at limiting the reporting period to 12 months as discussed on June 25 at the joint select committee meeting would be a massive setback for the country on the issue of sexual assault and harassment. It is disappointing to witness the misogynistic behaviour of the justice minister whose mandate is to ensure that Jamaica is a just and law-abiding society with an accessible, efficient, and fair system of justice for all. It is therefore very hard to imagine how a minister who expresses these toxic views publicly is able to fulfil the duties off his office.

We demand the immediate re-evaluation of Minister Delroy Chuck's position as minister of justice. Girls Who Know Jamaica will continue to amplify and hold safe spaces for survivors to share their stories to reduce the stigma surrounding sexual violence. We will continue to share helpful resources to facilitate healing on our media platforms. Let's all join the movement. #MeToo #MeTooJamaica #SpeakUp

Michael Morgan

External affairs liaison

Girls Who Know Ja

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