A gender equality advocate is warning men that they do not have the right to disrespect, rape, sexually assault, or be violent towards any woman regardless of her socio economic background.
Research Assistant at the Institute of Gender and Development Studies, University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, Leigh-Ann Worrell issued the message as she addressed the topic Sexual Violence and Rape Culture, during an engagement with Fifth Form students at the St Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary, in observance of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The event was organised by the United States Embassy.
“So we make a lot of fun of the kind of girl that deserves a particular treatment. The ghetto girl deserves this; what was she doing down there; she shouldn’t have had that on. But nobody deserves violence, no matter what they are wearing, or where they are from,” she said.
Following a brief interactive session where Worrell asked the students to gave their thoughts on what they believed was the right way to approach a woman, the gender equality advocate told the young men that they have a role to play in moving society towards a culture of respect.
She stressed that persons in relationships should not see their partners as their property or seek to control them.
“I know we like to talk about my girl or my man, but they don’t belong to you. Just like how you can make decisions to go out with your friends and you don’t tell your girl anything, is the same way that she can make the same decision for herself.
“Also, rejection is fine. You can ‘holler’ at a girl and she doesn’t turn around. She doesn’t owe you nothing. If you approach her and you tell her good morning or hello my friend, you look so beautiful this morning and she ‘stupes’ at you, she ‘stupes’ at you. That doesn’t mean that she has to be ‘hard foot and bad looking’ the next second,” Worrell said.
Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Embassy to Barbados Larry Socha said the embassy saw it fitting to host the programme at the island’s only all boys secondary school to discuss the theme for the 16 Days of Activism, Generation Equality Stands Against Rape.