Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 3rd 2014 Contents B3
Thursday, April 3, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
On Tuesday, print and televi-
sion news called me for a "gender
perspective." The Chandresh
Sharma story, Sat Maharaj state-
ments, how is this hitting the
Government, violence against
women as an issue.
I declined to comment on Shar-
ma s mess. I didn t know all the
facts. Men having multiple women
is well accepted. It s practically a
male rite of public life.
However, if our political parties
and country had sexual harass-
ment policies, regardless of how
the situation began or ended, it
would have been less likely. Men
would face more rules regarding
mixing sex with politics and lead-
That s why if I was Prime Min-
ister, one election promise would
be a national sexual harassment
policy, particularly to protect
young women from men who
have more institutional, ideolog-
ical, economic, political and phys-
ical power. We have to challenge
older, predatory males sexual
licence in our culture.
Glenn Ramadharsingh was out
of order, but I don t think he was
aiming to sexually harass or
assault. Still, a woman felt dis-
respected and threatened enough
to file a complaint. Rightly so; she
had to protect herself and her job
from a more powerful male.
Beyond the violation of mar-
riage, Sat Maharaj should have
sided against any violence against
women, domestic or not. I
declined to comment because I
think his sexist opinions get too
much media attention.
I recommended both reporters
talk to the Hindu Women s
Organisation. For years, they have
been attempting anti-domestic
violence work through their tem-
ples. Their campaign didn t
resoundingly spread because of
pundits resistance. The organi-
sation s strategy may have pre-
vented these kinds of incidents
from happening by already shift-
ing the social environment for
Indian men s relations with
women. Press can help them.
It s all hitting Campaign 2015
hard. The PM must be damned
vex. Whatever your criticisms of
her, she s not worse than any of
those men. She has risen among
them, and now they are cutting
her down, left, right and centre.
Just handling them and their egos,
entrenched public-sector corrup-
tion, and gender and sexual
inequality is more than anyone
else in our history has ever done.
As Sunity Maharaj also says, our
systems need transformation or
all individual leaders will inevitably
Whatever the PM s shortcom-
ings, I think she s more competent
than people say. Nonetheless,
At any rate, individual politi-
cians are not news. Dead fish by
the thousands is our front page.
When they start to die, how long
do you think before we start too?
Fish resources and ocean health
are amongst our best economic
resources for the future, and it is
the poorest among us who need
to most rise up in defence of their
descendants. It is the wealthiest
who can pause their charity to
influence protective legislation.
The struggle of the Highway
Re-route Movement (HRM) is also
more important. I was surprised
at a newspaper editorial chastising
them for being a nuisance. That s
the point. Development is about
democracy and transparent deci-
sion-making, not just big build-
ings. The HRM is rightly resisting
that unaccountable vision. And
without justice, why should there
On reflection, my one comment
should have been support for
Sacha Singh, whose private photos
became revenge-porn on the
Internet. There s nothing wrong
with sending sexy photos to your
man. Women shouldn t be pun-
ished for that. What s shameful
is publicising them. It s "dutty"
and a form of mass-mediated sex-
ual violence. On this count, Sacha
has my absolute solidarity.
My failures to comment are
often misrepresented as feminist
silence about "Kamla," a shallow
cliché, but it was midnight when
I finished work and finalised my
thoughts. Too late, though now I
knew what I d say.
Of hot news and real issues
DIARY OF A MOTHERING WORKER
On reflection, my one comment should have been
support for Sacha Singh, whose private photos
became revenge-porn on the internet. There's
nothing wrong with sending sexy photos to your
man. Women shouldn't be punished for that.
What's shameful is publicising them. It's dutty and
a form of mass-mediated sexual violence. On this
count, Sacha has my absolute solidarity.
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