Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados Today Inc.
by Charity Bowen, 13 years old
Imagine you are a female, you’re walking down the street in workout clothes playing music through your earphones.
You then hear someone catcall you, through your music, from across the street, he’s twice your age, probably older, and is making you very uncomfortable after each word. What would you do in that situation? Men, preferably older and creepy ones, tend to do this a lot to women, women who are just trying to have a nice stroll or get to their destination in peace.
Females and some males are afraid of men. Now, I’m not saying that all men do this, because not all men do. What I’m trying to say that it’s enough men for women to be scared of them.
According to my research, one in three women, ages 11-17, have experienced sexual assault, that’s 83 per cent of women.
In that 83 per cent, 51.1 per cent of that sexual assault is by a partner and 40.8 per cent is by an acquaintance of the victim.
For men, one in four men has experienced sexual assault, that’s also 43 per cent of men.
In that 43 per cent, 52.4 per cent of the sexual assault was performed by a complete stranger and 15.2 per cent was by an acquaintance.
There have been so many victims who haven’t spoken up about their sexual assault or rape because they are/were scared of the said assaulter, whether the assaulter threatened them, manipulated them, etc.
Additionally, in schools, teachers dress code the girls for wearing tank tops, or spaghetti straps because they apparently “distract” the boys and stop them from learning properly.
How about instead of telling girls to cover up in 45-degree weather, we teach boys how not to take advantage of girls and not to stare at them or continuously flirt with them when they are clearly uncomfortable.
Adding to that, we say, boys will be boys when a boy does something that’s wrong and tell little girls that if the boy hits them that they like them, which is promoting abuse in marriages and relationships.
In conclusion, we need to punish men and boys who think it is okay to take advantage of women and girls and stop telling them it’s okay to do this. Men, do better.