Don’t Let Your Ba­bies Grow Up To Be Mon­sters!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Kayra Wil­liams

Iheard the most un­set­tling story this week of two close friends who had gone to­gether to a per­for­mance by a live band. The pair had known each other for over ten years. Af­ter the show they de­cided to get some take­away from a pop­u­lar nightspot. They were wait­ing for their order when a strange man started touch­ing the young wo­man. Her male friend in­ter­vened. The pest walked away. But sec­onds later he was back, armed with a wooden cane with which he launched an as­sault on the other man's head while his back was turned. The girl tried to as­sist her friend whose head was bleed­ing pro­fusely. Scream­ing, she chased af­ter his at­tacker as he hur­riedly headed out of the late-night eaterie and made good his es­cape. In­stead of of­fer­ing as­sis­tance, other pa­trons at the es­tab­lish­ment turned on the young wo­man, as if she had in­vited her friend's at­tacker to touch her up and was there­fore re­spon­si­ble for what had hap­pened.

The re­called in­ci­dent hap­pened in Ber­muda. The story re­minded of a La­bor Day in­ci­dent in New York, when a wo­man was shot point blank in the face when she re­fused to dance with a par­tic­u­lar in­di­vid­ual; an­other stranger. Think­ing of both in­ci­dents a day or two af­ter I was told about the Ber­muda tri­an­gle, it oc­curred to me that things were not all that dif­fer­ent at home in Saint Lu­cia.

A cou­ple of days ago a post on Face­book ar­rested my at­ten­tion: a pop­u­lar Saint Lu­cian had men­tioned try­ing to get a young wo­man's at­ten­tion in Rod­ney Bay. He wanted to in­form her that money was fall­ing out of her bag. But she pre­tended he was in­vis­i­ble. Her per­sisted un­til fi­nally the wo­man turned around and rudely in­formed him she was not look­ing for a man. A slew of re­sponses fol­lowed his Face­book post, most of them ref­er­ences to Saint Lu­cian women who were “stoosh”. One wo­man dared to of­fer a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. “While you were try­ing to do good,” she wrote, “take a mo­ment to imag­ine life as a wo­man. From the mo­ment we leave our homes, we have to en­dure end­less guys mak­ing rude and un­called-for com­ments and weird noises. It's plain ha­rass­ment, an­noy­ing and too of­ten scary. When, for a change, we en­counter some­one who gen­uinely wants to say some­thing com­pli­men­tary, or to warn us some­thing is about to fall out of our purse, re­gret­tably Peter ends up pay­ing for Paul. Women just can't be too care­ful these days. Saint Lu­cian women have it rough.”

“I was walk­ing past some guys,” posted an­other fe­male, “and one said ‘good morn­ing.' I replied ac­cord­ingly. But then he got up from where he'd been sit­ting and started walk­ing with me. “You look nice to­day,” he said, and I thanked him. He then asked if he could take me out that night. I asked him if it had not oc­curred to him that I was ob­vi­ously old enough to be his mother. He said he didn't mind at all; he liked older women. Now, if in the first place, when he pre­tended to wish me a good morn­ing, I had screamed in his face that I was not on the hunt for a man, would that have dis­cour­aged his other ideas?”

I of­fered my own con­tri­bu­tion to the post. I re­called a su­per­flu­ous char­ac­ter try­ing to catch my at­ten­tion as I walked in Cas­tries. When he was two or three feet be­hind me he said my knee-length dress with a small fash­ion split in the back had hiked just a wee bit too high. I won­dered why this strange man had thought of noth­ing bet­ter to do than to look up my skirt. I turned to face him, my ex­pres­sion scream­ing hell and damna­tion. His re­ac­tion? He threw up his hands and claimed he was only try­ing to help. As I walked away I thought about the count­less times I'd been ha­rassed and ver­bally as­saulted by to­tal strangers; the nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions I'd de­cided to walk on the other side of a Cas­tries street sim­ply be­cause I couldn't risk be­ing made a tar­get by groups of boys with noth­ing bet­ter to do than make life dif­fi­cult for un­sus­pect­ing un­escorted fe­males go­ing about their own busi­ness. Ex­pe­ri­ence has left me with the im­pres­sion that too many of our lo­cal males have no idea what it means to show re­spect for women.

“Women should not be blamed for play­ing it safe,” I wrote fi­nally. “To the good guys, I say: the wo­man alone knows the num­ber of losers she'd al­ready en­coun­tered be­fore she bumped into you - with all your good in­ten­tions. It's get­ting to the point where try­ing to shop in Wil­liam Peter Boule­vard is like walk­ing a greased tightrope.”

I can­not help won­der­ing why some men take upon them­selves the right to talk to women, when and as they please; even to touch them in­ap­pro­pri­ately!

“The is­sue isn't just women,” went an­other FB com­ment. “You can't help but won­der about the fathers and moth­ers who con­tinue not to teach their male off­spring to re­spect fe­males of all ages.”

How many more women must pay the price for this egre­gious ne­glect? How many of us must con­tinue to de­pend on il­le­gal pep­per spray and items far more lethal?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.