Junkanoo just passed and in between me drunkenly screaming at the T.V cheering on every group (except the Valley Boys) and looking for my little cousin who went onto Bay Street with as much vengeance as a cute candy fiend could possibly muster, I still had time to browse social media and I learnt some things.

I learnt that the Valley Boys could rush onto Bay Street and play nothing and hardcore fans would still say the music was sweet.  

I learnt that ‘Colours’ had a theme (as obscure as it was) and I also learnt that the Royal Bahamas Police Force probably doesn’t have a Social Media Manager that studied PR.

Hours before the looming banners and cultural rivals took to Bay Street to Rush it out, The Royal Bahamas Police Force released their list of safety tips. Fair Enough. They let us know in no uncertain terms that rat tail combs, fingernail files and box cutters will be confiscated. That’s fine I don’t know anyone who would want to bring a box cutter to Junkanoo anyway…..

In a stunning turn of events though, The RBPF has done something dumber than scream “Ya lock up!” when apprehending a criminal. They added to their list of safety tips that one should dress “appropriately” as to avoid unwanted groping.  They deleted that point but some unsung hero grabbed a screenshot before the RBPF’s one-man band Social media team got rid of it.

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In both Primary and High School, I learnt that we should all just keep our hands to ourselves. ‘Jesus and His Legacy’ is still in rotation so I know the curriculum hasn’t changed.

I understand that School teaches us things we will never practically use in the real world but I feel as if “Don’t touch people who don’t want to be touched” would have been one of those things that were actually useful you know?

Apparently, men can’t breathe air without getting an erection and then blaming said erection on women who couldn’t care less about their carnal discomforts.

Before you say “Ash, Why are you talking about men like they’re wild animals? Barbaric in nature and stature.” That’s not me, that’s Y’all. For every time I hear someone say “Why she was wearing that” or “She was asking for it.” you place yourself far below the category of human and somewhere near the reptilian class. I won’t dare to call you lot potcakes because my Grammy’s dog ‘Brownie’ is too good to be classed with you.  

Let me humour you all though. Let’s for one minute remove all the women who dare wear short shorts from the equation and leave only those who wear more “conservative” attire. For even more humour I’ll place myself in the equation and let’s not make the backdrop Junkanoo. No, I’m taking you all to church. Surely the stockings that I’ve worn and the long skirt that I had made especially for this one hallowed hall will be enough to not “tempt the loins of men”– because that’s where we still at in 2017.

 

I’m wrong though, aren’t I? Because that hasn’t stopped ushers from getting much too close and revered brothers of the church from oh so casually caressing my ass. I know for certain my clothing reflected that I,  a good Christ-loving girl in her long-sleeved sweater and much too big skirt didn’t want to be felt up, but here we are. So…how SHOULD one dress?

 

I’m trying with all my might to find an ounce of redemption in this “dress appropriately” scenario but I can’t. Because I’m tired of the perpetuation of rape culture at the highest levels of our society.


Why is it my responsibility as a woman to not get groped or raped? Is it really our attire that’s causing this or is it the fact that we’re not teaching our kids… to you know…not be rapists?

There’s an anger that surges through many men when they cannot control women, a gender I now understand many of them to see as a subspecies at best and property at worst (i.e the marital rape debate). A guy last week just literally screamed at me that he would “break a bottle off in my pussy” because I refused to say hello to him. No one thought this was inappropriate, No one thought it was violent, this was a norm and it was hilarious to the security officer who witnessed the entire one-sided exchange.


It’s not just men who seem to want to place the blame on women for what should be common sense though is it? We have members of the gender doing the most. Acting like they’re not infringing on their very own rights by pinning proverbial red letters on the chests of women nationwide. Indulging in behaviour like this adds fuel to an already perverted fire that some of these men don’t even want you to get a torch for. Do better.

Somewhere tonight there’s a victim of sexual violence. He or She is going to hesitate to call 919, when or if they do though I hope their calls for help won’t be received with “were you dressed appropriately?” because we’re headed into 2018  and I’d hate to think that through all of the lack of economic and educational developments we’ve made in the past decade,  we’re taking this kind of ignorance into a New Year as well.

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