Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 19th 2015 Contents A22
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, February 19, 2015
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Block-talk style, my bre-
dren were comparing the
extent of punishment they
thought should be inflicted on
men who share sexually-explicit
photos of women which they
know were taken with an
expectation of privacy.
Those kind of men behave
unethically and exploitatively in
a world where women face
shame and stigma for what
earns men fame and stripes, a
world where women s greater
gender inequality creates greater
sexual vulnerability, and where
men can and do wield their
ability to harm women in ways
they will never feel.
If a woman agrees to take or
share sexy, intimate photos or
videos, whether in a single, pri-
vate sexual encounter or over a
long-term relationship, that
doesn t mean she consents to
public distribution of those
images. Men, women and the
law should be clear on this
right to consent and its viola-
To tell women to never take
such photos is unrealistic in our
digital image age; it denies
women a source of erotic
pleasure they may wish to
share with their sexual partners,
and it worryingly assumes that
men, even those in serious
partnerships, will inevitably
turn out to be untrustworthy,
dangerous and mercilessly
This message is no different
from telling girls and women
not to wear short skirts in case
it causes their rape or telling
them not to have sex before
marriage because men won t
want the cow if the milk is free
or telling them that walking
unaccompanied on the street is
inviting sexual harassment or
telling them that they are to
blame for men s domestic bat-
tery, because they answered
back or stayed in the marriage
for too long.
Women are not responsible
for men s decisions to violate,
devalue, disrespect or penalise
them in any form, including by
reneging on an understanding
of sexual intimacy and privacy.
Here is where both law and our
social principles should be on
women s side.
Right now, social hypocrisy
rests on the side of male privi-
lege, and what s come to be
called "revenge porn" is over-
whelmingly and globally char-
acterised by men s use of media
and technology to humiliate
and harm girls and women,
who for one reason or another
trusted that they would be safe
from such violence.
Yes, girls should grow up
learning to be careful, for it
seems as if any man, from
uncles to exes, can potentially
sexually subordinate them how-
ever those men choose. Yet, as
we give women this message,
what messages do we give
men? And where do these
messages come from?
Almost a year ago to the day,
the Senate agreed that the state
should send a message through
the Libel and Defamation
Amendment Act and the Cyber
Security Agency Bill. Both
pieces of legislation should
make willfully disseminating
personal files or photos, which
expose private affairs and create
public ridicule and damage,
punishable by jail time and
fines, thus protecting the rights
and freedoms of girls and
women, who are the main vic-
However, the Act doesn t
cover "revenge porn" anywhere
and cybercrime legislation
remains only at bill stage. The
message? Victims are unpro-
tected. Newspapers can, with
casual brutality, publish their
names, photos and, possibly,
sexual history. Men can argue
that one time, short-term or
casual sexual encounters are a
free-for-all with no expecta-
tions of ethics, common decen-
cy or confidentiality. We now
wait for a mister in the judge s
chair, relying on common rather
than criminal law, to determine
issues of consent, responsibility
This indeterminacy is why
my bredren thought a public
cricket bat beating would send
the best message of solidarity.
If I were not all about non-vio-
lence, I d agree.
Remember the days when families
headed for the Queen's Park Savan-
nah for the two days of Carnival? Carni-
val crowds turned out for both Monday
and Tuesday mas.
The important thing was that every-
body felt welcome up at the Savannah.
The Grand Stand was more expensive
than the bleachers but not exorbitant. It
is ridiculous to see a 70 per cent empty
Grand Stand that is peopled mainly by
the judges, photographers and security
What is the point of getting the Grand
Stand ready for judging if the normal
house-holder cannot afford the entry
Do I dare ask how much money is
spent erecting the North Stand? Gone
are the days when the North Stand
reigned supreme and bursting with en-
thusiastic families with their baskets and
bugles. Carnival used to "rock."
The horrifying thing is that apart from
Panorama, the lack of paying spectators
extends to all the shows. A simple deci-
sion like dropping the price of tickets to
$150 for anywhere, on any day, for any
show may very well entice takers. A
bleachers price of $75 for adults and $50
for children would see all bleachers sold
out for both Carnival days. Vendors
would have to be allowed on the "drag"
and at orchestrated points for full value
on their outlay. Is it not better to sell
every ticket instead of just 25 per cent?
A system where all competing bands
can be judged over two days needs to be
introduced. Competing bands can be
judged in full costume on the allotted
day and be allowed to leave parts of their
costumes off, should they so desire, on
their judging-free day.
the bandleaders and the Government ap-
pear to have priced themselves out of
the equation? Or is it that too many peo-
ple want to play mas and we just do not
have enough spectators who can afford
to pay to see any of the shows? And
what about the tedious untimely expen-
sive government advertisements break-
ing up the televised shows?
We just cannot go on this way. Carni-
val is very close to dying in Port-of-Spain.
Where have the spectators gone? What
have we become? Are we now too rich or
is it poor to party?
Over the past decades our "culture"
has become more focused on Carni-
val instead of Lent. Lent or the pre-Lent
period, just like Christmas, has become a
perversion of what it's supposed to be
and therefore has the opposite effect.
Unfortunately too many people don't
know the history of and purpose of Lent,
and that is why our nation is in such
Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days and 40
nights ending on Holy Thursday. So in re-
membrance of Christ's fasting Christians
have traditionally done the same as well
as abstaining from alcohol, meat, doing
corporal works of mercy, etc.
Carnival was really and initially just
the two days before Lent which were
used to say farewell to the flesh, in other
words, all carnal/worldly pleasures. Ulti-
mately the goal of Lent and similar peri-
ods like Ramadan is to gain greater
self-control and discipline. After all, if the
first of our national watch words is '"Dis-
cipline," and citizens do appreciate what
it really means, we would have less road
incidents and greater productivity etc.
Please have a successful time of fast-
ing and abstinence this Lent, T&T.
What is this new issue of paying
extra for Monday wear? A relative
was asked to pay $900 for a monoki (a
one-piece bikini) after paying thousands
for a mas costume.
The bands are now using the cos-
tumes only on Tuesday and making the
masqueraders purchase another wear,
now fashionably dubbed "Monday Wear,"
for use on Monday. This is a big rip-off.
It makes no sense to spend all that
money for one day. In the past we came
out with the basic costume on Monday
and added all the embellishments on
Tuesday. So what was wrong with that?
No wonder registration has dropped
drastically. Carnival is now exclusive and
DIARY OF A MOTHERING WORKER
DESERVING OF A CRICKET BAT BEATING Where have the spectators gone?
No real preparation for Lent
Monday wear a rip-off
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