Warning to some men: Women are neither acquisitions nor conquests!


Sunday, December 16, 2018

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This is an appeal, not to the universal set of Jamaican men but rather, to the intersections of sets of men who are fathers, husbands and sons, involved in some relationship with a female, but who feel that the quality of “maleness” makes them irresistible and gives them inalienable rights to touch any female, anywhere, inappropriately with words or hands.

Stop it!

The #MeToo Movement in the United States is not one that all Jamaican women endorse fully. Some of us see both its merits and demerits. We laud any movement that unravels the societal hypocrisy which whitewashes the predatory behaviour of some men in our society, but we also have our reservations regarding any movement which, while admittedly empowering women, has the potential to delegitimise the progress made by women simply because due process may not always be followed with respect to accusations.

That said, this article is to remind men that women are human beings and deserving of respect. We are neither acquisitions nor conquests! Slavery was abolished in 1834. Jamaican woman are neither chattel nor cattle. We are not on the proverbial auction block strutting our stuff because we want to be pawed then bought.

As women, we suffer many indignities. Some of us resort to “frumpy” suits to hide our femininity so that we do not call unwanted attention to ourselves. Why should we feel the need to do that?

Some of us flaunt our femininity. We wear our dresses, our skirts, our heels because we feel good about ourselves and are validating our femininity. For some of us, whether a man sees us in this light — as self-aware, feminine, self-confident — is inconsequential. It is about us, not them.

We women work hard. Some of us are senior managers in the public and private sectors. We know our worth. We add value to the organisations we represent, even as domestics. We stand in no man's shadow because the sun's rays are bright enough for all to bask.

So then, how dare some man — politician, minister or MP, CEO, chairman, pastor, teacher or whatever moniker of authority, power and/or wealth — feel that he can make sexual innuendos, pat us like pets, or stroke us like we are premature babies needy of human touch?

If women were to really come out and speak about the verbal and physical indignities suffered at the hands of men who do, simply because they can, then the Jamaican #MeToo Movement would be pregnant with tales of the rich and powerful men who belittled a woman's existence for their personal gain.

These men don't care if they know your parents or are drinking buddies with your Daddy. They are true sociopaths, able to traverse the realms of perfect father, husband, pastor, teacher and ignoble predator in one breath. They scoff at the little man who is neither rich nor powerful but who seeks to stamp his mastery on a woman either through physical abuse or sexual assault, and see themselves as better, superior. Newsflash: You are no better! Authority, power and wealth do not make the act any more dignified. You are not beyond reproach!

Humpty Dumpty sat upon a wall and Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!

I speak for all women who have had to endure your unwanted gestures, touches, embraces, kisses, crass attempts at seduction: keep your damned hands and words to yourselves!

We throw our corn, we don't call any roosters.

You know yourselves. Cease and desist!

We are daughters, mothers, sisters and wives and we do not want the next generation of young Jamaican women to have to physically and figuratively tense in anticipation of unwanted touches, and feel gross and sick to their stomachs even after intense showering to wash off the nasty touch.

Come on, some of you men! Wake up!

Don't let it get to the point where your behaviour undergoes intense public scrutiny. Think about your families — wives, children, parents, siblings — if your reputation does not matter. Spare them the embarrassment, the pain, the hurt from your dirty laundry busting out like a cankerous sore that won't heal.

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