Thu | Dec 14, 2017

Mark Wignall | Powerful men and their wayward penises

Published:Thursday | October 26, 2017 | 12:00 AM

It was sometime in the late 1980s and the diminutive man was enjoying the huge footprint his commercial establishment had in the Jamaican business landscape. His initial cash outlay in business came by way of the successful dabbling in illicit ganja export that flourished in the 1970s.

But the little man had a dark side to his personality. He seemed to be a firm believer in the notion that sexual conquest was best attained by bullying selected women who worked in his large organisation and threatening them with loss of employment if they did not subject themselves to such a demeaning act.

At one stage, however, he made a terrible error by trying to force himself on a close female relative of mine who worked at head office. Bad move. After a letter was sent to him by a socially powerful male relative of mine, not only did he apologise to the young woman, he gave her an increase in wages in the hope that she would keep it out of the public domain.

But the sexual bully had to be true to the nature he had adopted. This time, it was a business tenant of his and she contacted me. Again, he desired sex by threat. Or eviction. When the sex was refused, he illegally had a team of goons tear down some wooden additions she had made to the premises.

A few weeks after, I wrote about the matter without calling any names. I was in the gaming lounge of a club attached to a New Kingston hotel and he walked up to the machine beside me with his tokens. He casually glanced in my direction and then hurriedly scampered away.

 

A COMMON THEME

 

The fast-growing scandal gathering steam in the United States, its entertainment industry, the media and various other areas have one common theme: men who have practised a lifetime of less-than-covert sexual bullying, in the process forcing themselves on women and/or destroying the livelihoods of those who protest and refuse to bow.

It is very much alive and well in Jamaica, although we do not have anything resembling the sheer scope and money-spinning abilities of Hollywood. But we have an entertainment industry where young women are always hoping to push through with their sheer talent alone.

In Jamaica, it still exists at the workplace but with about 60 per cent of top managerial jobs (just below the big male bosses) held by women, it becomes difficult to prove a case that significant numbers of women are being held hostage to sex.

In the Jamaican culture, what America sees as sexual assault, many of us here see it as normal office routine. In Jamaica, a man at work will place his arm around a female colleague and even plant a kiss on her cheek with the only response being a smile. Have that woman spend a decade in New York and an unsolicited kiss of the cheek takes on a decided sexual tone.

 

THE BARMAID'S STORY

 

Years ago, 'Aldeen' secured a job as a barmaid. Her boss, 'Brown Man', told her not to have her boyfriend become a fixture at the bar where she worked, a bit of sound advice. But Brown Man had other ideas. A few weeks later, she was unemployed and she told me that after closing one night, he had offered to drop her home.

He drove, instead, to an all-night motel. When she insisted that she wanted to go home, even lying that she was having her period, he forced her out of the car and drove away, leaving her in the late night on her own and far from home.

The once-mighty Bill O'Reilly has concluded that God has abandoned him. Maybe it was instead the devil who made him do it. These men always draw for an external agent as the reason for their misdirected penises. They need therapy, they claim, but only when they get caught.

In Jamaica, we tend to sweep under the carpet coercive sexual encounters and strangely, even some women do not see it as a 'big thing'. It is part of the broken moral fabric of this country where one's economic standing may mean that a poor woman may have to subject herself to sex with a sloven social misfit.

If she wants to eat tomorrow.

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