Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Sanction pigs for sexual harassment!

Published:Saturday | October 21, 2017 | 12:00 AMTHE EDITOR, Sir:

Masculinity in Jamaica seems to demand the blatant objectification of women by physically assaulting them and using aspects of their bodies to describe them often in sexual ways. You would be foolish to think our university campuses would have men who largely abhor these practices, but many of these men are not immune from this form of toxic masculinity, which is pervasive in our society.

The socialisation of our girls and boys is one of the rote causes for this kind of behaviour. The type of man who respects the inherent dignity and value of another person, regardless of their gender identity, is not the type our society has been encouraging. Instead, our culture prefers the rearing of misogynistic pigs.

The university has been unsuccessful in correcting this behaviour. Campus sexual harassment reflects wider societal tolerance of sexual harassment. This is one reason why Jamaica is described as one of the most unsafe places to be a female visitor.

We have come to normalise these actions in the name of performing hyper-heterosexist roles for society and to enforce a toxic masculinity that does great harm to our men and boys as to our women and girls.

The Sexual Harassment Act should be expanded to incorporate sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces outside of working environments and institutions to give victims greater powers. Law enforcement must become more responsive to instances of sexual harassment and act as an effective deterrent.

However, the greatest deterrent is the collective action of good citizens to sanctioning perpetrators of sexual harassment, whether in public or private.