Sun | Mar 29, 2020

Suffering in silence - Lament over cougars pressuring men for sex, but senator says catcalls make her feel ‘hot’

Published:Thursday | February 6, 2020 | 12:21 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Parliamentary Reporter
Government Senator Kerensia Morrison.

A government senator is calling attention to men who receive unwelcome advances from their female bosses at the workplace and suffer in silence.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck yesterday urged Gender Minister Olivia Grange to roll out a public education exercise ahead of the proposed passage of the Sexual Harassment Bill in a bid to use moral suasion to discourage “miscreants” from targeting women.

Chuck said that Jamaican women were “going through hell” in taxis and elsewhere, noting that the ministry with responsibility for gender affairs should produce jingles for radio and television to educate “our awful’ men that they need to “treat our women better”.

However, Kerensia Morrison, a fellow government senator, said it was important to strike a balance on the issue of sexual harassment, sharing that men, too, have stories about women who hound them for sex on the job .

“Many times in this discussion, you have women who come across as the victims and they may very well be, but let us not forget that we also have a culture that tells our boys and our men that they can’t complain about something like this, otherwise you are less than a man,” said Morrison, who is a member of the joint select committee deliberating on the Sexual Harassment Bill.

SEEK BALANCE

“You have cougars who stalk them. They are treated like boys by women, so I am advocating that as we continue these discussions, we are very sensitive and very balanced,” she said, adding that men were often bombarded with email and text messages soliciting sex.

Morrison also supported the call for a public-education programme to sensitise society on acceptable behaviour.

“The lines are blurred because there have been times when I feel so good when I walk on the road, and depends on what some of these same guys say, you know, maybe, I puff my chest out and I actually feel good and I feel hot ... . Maybe at that time I was probably beautifully harassed.”

Grange, who also chairs the joint select committee, said that her ministry was aware of the need to strike a balance.

“Our women are at a great disadvantage, but we also have to ensure that our men are protected,” she said.

In an interview with Grange at the end of the committee meeting, the gender affairs minister said that the proposed law was intended to protect both women and men from sexual harassment.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com