'Remember you are a representative of the people', PNP's David Tulloch tells Chuck

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'Remember you are a representative of the people', PNP's David Tulloch tells Chuck

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — People's National Party's (PNP) candidate for St Andrew North East, David Tulloch says he was surprised by the insensitive comments of Justice Minister Delroy Chuck on the Sexual Harassment Bill before the Joint Select Committee of Parliament last week.

Tulloch said he found it unfortunate that the “trusted” minister would have commented in a way that underscores insensitivity and insult to the many victims of sexual violence and harassment in Jamaica.

Chuck had commented on the proposed time period which a non-criminal sexual harassment complaint can be made saying: “We don't want the situation that now happens in the 'Me Too' movement in the US where 30 years later you talk about 'I was harassed in the elevator'.”

He chuckled before adding: “No, if you don't complain within 12 months, please, please, cut it out.”

Tulloch said the justice minister must be aware that many of the victims of sexual violence and harassment are possible residents in his constituency and were expecting to hear a more compassionate and thoughtful tone.

“Constituents have called and expressed their disappointment even after the first apology because many of them believe that he didn't think he was at fault and was only prompted to apologise after the backlash he received on social media,” the PNP candidate noted.

He added that sexual violence of any kind must be taken seriously because it inflicts physical, psychological, and emotional trauma on its victims.

If nothing else, these victims deserve compassion, space, and time to recuperate from the ordeal, no additional hurdles and stigma, Tulloch contended.

The suggestion by Chuck that victims of sexual harassment should be allowed only 12 months in which to file a complaint appears arbitrary and does not consider the possible long-term effects on the victims or their economic circumstance, Tulloch said.

He said he understands that the effects of sexual harassment are long term, and many victims are afraid to come forward out of embarrassment and fear of ridicule. He pointed out that it is rough to live in some communities with the stigma of any sexual violence.

Hence, he said, many victims only come forward many years after the initial assault when they feel assured of not being at risk of suffering additional emotional pain.

“I support the #MeToo movement, and I join with those voices saying that our women deserve better and should be respected. The constituents, some of whom may be victims of such violence, deserve better and MP (Member of Parliament) Chuck, who is aware of the demographic make-up of his constituency, should have known better. I only hope that as he mentioned, he will be championing the cause for women and that he upholds it,” Tulloch said.

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