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Street Harassment Twitter Chat Tonight!

Tonight - June 26th 2013- is the first #catchafyah tweet-up on #streetharassment in the Caribbean. Join the conversation on Twitter at 8pm Eastern Caribbean time. Have you ever experienced street harassment in the Caribbean? How did you react? What can be done to change things? What does street harassment look, feel and sound like in the Caribbean? What does street harassment say about Caribbean gender relations?”

Follow me at @WomenSpeakPro as well as other #catchafyah Caribbean twitterati who will be participating like @redforgender @sheroxlox @malaikaBSL  @JahageeSisters @sablikatriumph @BlakkaEllis

Check out some our posts on Street Harassment on WomenSpeak tagged #streetharassment and let us know your thoughts tonight. 


Poster developed by Tracey Chan and Stephanie Leitch


A short film on domestic violence and intimate partner violence by the Business & Professional Women’s Club Barbados. There is some where to go for help. Call 246-435-8222.

Poem - Gender Equality

I have traveled far
but where have I reached?
I have adapted to roles
that have changed like tides of sea.
I give you all,
you take all from me
yet won’t place me where I am meant to be,
wont give me what is due to me.
Not only you,
all of humanity.

It started when I was a child,
even as toddler it was instilled in me,
with dolls and delicate toys 
that evoke

As I grew older I saw your dominance
all around.
Enforced by society
with labels 
placed on me
when I’m ‘scantily clad’,
if I am with more than one man,
if my kids have different dads.
Fear of being labeled 
keep me in line
not all but a lot of the time.

Even media uplifts you
implying you’re better,
the heights all wisdom,
leaders of nations.
Let me tell you a few things 
you know nothing about,
child birth, lactation.

Educational factors handicap
indirectly teaching me
economic dependency.
In the workplace
is a glass ceiling
that I’ve cracked 
but can’t seem to break. 

I see your dominance in every institution—
except the home. 
Here, suddenly I know whats best.
Even if you’re there, 
you’re marginal
children fatherless.
So after work I come home
clean everyone’s mess—
Life’s a plantation
I’m a house slave.
End of the day, tired as hell
still sexually available to you.
When you plant your seed
I bear 
and again
building nations that you will rule,
nations that will disregard me 
like you did,
like you still do.

Your masculinity enforced
through religion and myth too.
In the Church
You always preaching to me.
Why can’t I give a word to you?
Don’t feel so bad when I recognise
The inequality isn’t only in my house
its in the Lord’s house too.
You preach that God gave Adam’s rib to Eve
and said in Genesis 3:16
that you should rule over me.
You don’t interpret it with guidance and love
which is the way God rules over us all
but with dominance and aggression,
treating me like a mere possession.
I’m so much more.
Your other half—is me.
Spiritually broken,
can’t fulfill our true purpose,
or what were meant to be.
Man and woman both incomplete,
never to be whole,
until we stand abreast,
as two bodies,
two minds,
one soul.

If all other enforcement tactics fail
forms of harrasment and violence
is an ever present
and effective way
in which you intimidate me
You feel even more powerful
seeing me bent head and lowered eyes
or back bent and on my knees.
Its not enough that you own me
You must ruin me too.

All these factors
over time
internalized by me
developing a temperament and sense
of inferiority
that wont end
its a cycle you see
I’ll continue to instil it
in the ones that come after
it will become a part of them
as much as its a part of me
How will I ever break free?
I don’t have the answer,
it was not taught to me.

I have travelled far
but where have I reached?
I have to adapted to roles
that have changed like tides of sea.
I give you all,
you take all from me
yet won’t place me where I am meant to be,
wont give me what is due to me.

Until then in God I abide,
praying for the day 
you pull me from underneath you
and place me at your side.
If not in this one
then in my next life.

Spoken by: the voice of past and present dutiful daughters, mothers, and wives.

© G. Emmanuel 2009



Anonymous asked: Hey simone interesting post and no I'm not a Woman but a Man. I agree with what your saying, since believe me or not have self-control. Anyway since we both are qualified in Sociology at the tertiary level let me ask this question. There is as you know a psychosocial relationship between the sexes. So is it that if a woman wears a short skirt she herself thinks its sexy or is that men like to see more skin and they think its sexy? in other words is a woman's thoughts on what is sexy based on men

You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur. 
― Margaret AtwoodThe Robber Bride

Dear Anonymous,

I’m not sure I know exactly what you mean by “psychosocial relationship” but I do know that the relationship between men and women is influenced by many factors: physical/hormonal; cultural; social. 

So, it may be perfectly natural to want to be sexually attractive to the opposite sex, but perhaps the way one determines what that looks like, depends on our cultural definitions of what is ‘sexy’, as well as social ‘gender scripts’ about how women should behave towards men, and men towards women. 

Certainly, we know that all modern societies are still greatly driven by the ‘male perspective’. So that the way both women and men come to view the world is based on a male-centred value system. Therein is the conundrum faced in the above quote by Margaret Atwood. 

Were you alive when baby-doll dresses were all the rage? I loved me some baby-doll dresses. My boyfriend hated them. Loose and shapeless; not what he thought of as sexy. So maaaaaybe when I was going out with him, I miiiiiight have maybe put on something else. Or not. 

What am I trying to say? Well, just that it’s all mixed up and although we are all influenced by these various cultural, social and biological factors, each individual may be more, or less influenced by one factor over the others. In turn this will therefore differently determine the way we relate to men or women, or the choices we make about how we want to present ourselves - in dress, in attitude, in demeanor. 

What is important to remember in the context of gender equity and justice is that regardless of a woman’s choice of dress, and for whatever reasons she has made that choice, it does not give others the right to infringe upon her human rights to safety, freedom of movement and freedom from harassment - verbal or physical. 


International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVAW)

On 17th December 1999, by Resolution 54/134, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25th November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This date was chosen in recognition of the brutal assassination if the three Mirabal sisters, Patria, Minerva and Maria from the Dominican Republic (D.R) who took a stand against the Dominican Dictator, Rafael Trujillo.

Trujillo was President of D.R from 1930 to 1938 and again from 1942 to 1952, at which point he became its dictator. The sisters came from a prosperous Dominican family and they were all well educated, at a time when this was not always the case. Initially only Minerva was involved in the political movement against Trujillo, but later her two sisters and most of her family also became active.

The anti-Trujillo movement was growing and by the late 1950s all three sisters were involved in the underground movement to overthrow Trujillo. They were repeatedly arrested and so were their husbands and for a long period they were in and out of prison. They became almost like folk heroes. In early November 1960, Trujillo declared that his two problems were the Church and the Mirabal sisters.

On 25 November 1960, the sisters were assassinated (ambushed and clubbed to death) in an “accident” as they were being driven to visit their husbands who were in prison. The accident caused much public outcry, and shocked and enraged the nation. The brutal assassination of the Mirabal sisters was one of the events that helped propel the anti-Trujillo movement, and within a year, the Trujillo dictatorship came to an end. and Trujillo arranged for them to be assassinated.

In 1981 women’s activists began to recognize the day as being pivotal in the fight against violence to women and as the women’s movement grew, November 25 came to be regarded as a special day, ultimately leading to the adoption of the UN Resolution in 1999. The sisters are known as the “Unforgettable Butterflies” and have become a symbol against the victimization of women.

To mark the event, men and boys are urged to wear white ribbons as a visible pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon pointed out that violence against women and girls is widespread throughout the globe. This violence, he said, includes rape, domestic violence, harassment at work, abuse in school, female genital mutilation and sexual violence in armed conflicts. He went on to say that men are predominantly responsible for this violence against women and our challenge is to ensure that the message of zero tolerance is heard far and wide.

Many young men, he said, still grow up surrounded by outmoded stereotypes. It is up to these young people to generate the lead that can help to end the pandemic of violence.

Note: IDEVAW is being celebrated today - Monday, November 26 - since November 25 was on a Sunday.

Click like and share if you support the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVAW).

Today November 20th is Universal Children’s Day. Listen to how these kids are using their organisation - Random Acts of Good Deeds- to raise awareness about child sexual abuse in Trinidad and Tobago.

Condemn Violent and Sexual Crimes against Women and Children