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As Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival quickly approaches, we are hearing more from people on both sides of the fence – proponents and opponents. While some think it is a brilliant idea and welcome the new festival, others are offended, confused, and/or angered by it. We expected a statement from the Bahamas Christian Council long ago, and it finally came last month. It was both disappointing and infuriating, serving only to perpetuate rape culture through the policing of women’s bodies and the sexualization of rape. The statement by the Bahamas Christian Council is not the only disturbing one, but it is the one our Director has responded to in Genderational – a column for The Bahamas Weekly.
The idea that women and girls invite acts of sexual violence against them is being promoted by the Bahamas Christian Council, thereby perpetuating rape culture. Whether or not he realizes it, Dr. Patterson’s comments serve to normalize and excuse the acts he seeks to prevent by policing women’s bodies. The stance he has taken, on behalf of the entire Council, serves to sexualize rape while blaming victims and attributing the injustices they suffer to the choices they have the right make without fear of judgment or reprisal.
Women and girls live in a world where they are constantly watched, assessed, policed, shamed, and blamed, and by no fault of their own. They endure sexual harassment in the workplace, school, streets, and other public spaces. They are expected to smile on demand, have sex with their husbands as commanded, keep their problems to themselves, and struggle silently as they navigate a world clearly built for men.
Read the full article here and stay tuned for more from Hollaback! Bahamas on Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival and the conversation around it.
I was walking to my car by [major grocery store] and two men in a car slowed down to drive next to me. I walked through parked cars so they couldn’t keep doing it and they started speeding and skidding in the parking lot to get to the row I was in and almost knocked me down. I was in shock and one of them told me don’t run from serious man. I couldn’t even talk. The one who was driving laughed and they reversed out and drove off. My friend told me about Hollaback! Bahamas so I looked it up on Facebook so I could tell you what happened.
We just had to share this amazing story, told by a sexual assault survivor. She fought through her fear and shock to confront the perpetrator. Witnesses came forward and assured her that she had their support. Bystander intervention! What happened next really sucks, but doesn’t discount her actions, or the actions of the great bystanders.
Check it out here.
Congratulations to Director of Hollaback! Bahamas Alicia Wallace – one of 60 #QueensYoungLeaders chosen from across 35 Commonwealth countries. In June, she’ll be off to London for a one-week residential course, and a visit to Buckingham Palace where she will receive her award. Check out the full story here.
Our team is proud of Alicia and her work, and look forward to many more years of badass street harassment fighting.
We’re thrilled to announce that Hollaback! Bahamas Director Alicia Wallace is part of Stop Street Harassment’s Blog Correspondent Cohort for 2015.
She’ll guest blog on the SSH website once per month from January to April. We’ve had a sneak peek at the topics she plans to cover, and all we can say is watch both these spaces!
Check out this amazing spoken word performance by Belissa Escobedo, Rhiannon McGavin, and Zariya Allen on The Queen Latifah Show.
So much truth for so many people in countries all over the world.
Our open letter to the women’s organization that planned the Cosby event at Atlantis and intended to use proceeds to fund a safe house was printed in The Tribune on Tuesday. We expressed our outrage at the decision of the organization to not only host the event, but participate in what could be Cosby’s honeymoon stage. We hope more people will speak up about it.
Here’s a link to it. Read it, leave a comment, and share it.
Hollaback! Bahamas was utterly dismayed to learn that proceeds of the Bill Cosby event held in the Atlantis Live Theatre – hosted by the Nassau Chapter of The Links, Incorporated – would fund a women’s safe house. Whether or not Cosby has been tried and found guilty, rape allegations and the dignity of those reporting them must be taken seriously. National President Glenda Newell-Harris called the accusations “alarming and unsettling” in a statement. She went on to say that the organization “believes in the judicial system of the United States” and would not comment further.
As a part of a global movement and non-profit organization rooted in storytelling, our mandate is to honour the stories of the people who share them, support them through the process, stand in the gap for them to demand justice and respect, and direct them to available resources. As such, it is necessary to have this conversation both openly and honestly.
While Cosby refuses to comment, women continue to come forward to share their painful, personal stories, igniting a global dialogue about sexual assault, issues of reporting, power dynamics, the law – specifically the statute of limitations – and victim shaming. One might expect greater sensitivity and responsibility from organizations operating in The Bahamas where sexual assault is a scourge of society, suffered by many who maintain their silence.
The Bahamas had the highest per capita rate of rape in the world according to the 2007 UN/World Bank report on crime, and continues to see abuse of power manifested as sexual assault. The country continues to see the abuse of power by men, parents and guardians, caretakers, and religious leaders. In 2011, for example, former Bishop Randy Fraser was found guilty of unlawful sex with a 16 year old girl he was counseling.
Perhaps the 2002 vote against making marital rape illegal should have been an indicator of the Bahamian people’s view of consent, body autonomy, and male privilege. The non-joke about domestic abuse by Leslie Miller, M.P. in the House of Assembly earlier this year and the (lack of) public response was certainly another clear indicator of the willingness of the Bahamian people to ignore the ongoing violations of human rights and the law.
As we continue to lobby for a sexual offenders court, an amber alert system for missing children, and a sexual offenders registry, more is expected of civic organizations and individuals who purport to be proponents and advocates of human rights, equality, and justice. We must all be held to a higher standard.
It is unfathomable to Hollaback! Bahamas that the use of proceeds from the comedy show to fund a women’s safe house could possibly pay penance to survivors of sexual assault who have reported, have not reported, and continue to consider reporting crimes against them.
How could one seek refuge in a place that is partly funded by a few hours of jokes or talks on morality from a man accused of rape by more than 15 women? We are unable to reconcile the two, and do not believe any woman should ever have to do so. TV Land, NBC, and Netflix will not force their viewers to choose. Why should a safe house force those who seek refuge to make such a moral decision? Why would a local women’s organization choose to play an active role in what could be Cosby’s honeymoon phase?
It is our hope that the organization raising money for a safe house will reject funds from this event as a matter of respect for survivors of sexual assault and the sanctity of their relationship with them.