Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:05 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Stop street harassment
The other day a man in Town barked at Miss Thing. Yes, barked. Like a dog. Another, who she said was old enough to be her father, expressed a wish to bite her bottom. I read an amazing letter on the topic of street harassment in the Caribbean, written by Patrice M Daniel and republished on the Web site stopstreetharassment.org after first being published on the blog of the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region. It read, in part: “Dear Caribbean Men, “We do not have to smile for you. Our smiles are our own. Our lips are our own and our smiles are a celebration of our happiness. We do not have to smile on command. We’re busy thinking about geo-political trends, the next ten-mile run, and the latest cricket match.
We’re too busy to be the smiling decoration that we, as women, are expected to be. Our faces can be thoughtful, angry, sad, peaceful, meditative, or bored. So stop, Caribbean men. Stop walking up to us, harassing us, and demanding that we smile. We do not have to smile for you. Our smiles are our own. “We do not have to answer you. Our names are our own. We were not christened, ‘Eh! Baby!’ We do not have to turn around and pretend that we enjoy being summoned like pets. We are not charmed when you follow us and invade our space.
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