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Impunity for men in power
In my address at the ceremony when I was granted an honorary degree by The UWI, I made a call for responsible citizens to getup, stand up and speak up, for gender justice.
It appears, judging from recent incidents of abuse of women, including the “women as golf course” statement and other dismissed cases, there continues to be an umbrella of impunity for men in power.
In many instances these men, in spite of their education, carry with them unacceptable beliefs and attitudes towards women, which make it okay to use their power against vulnerable young women.
Their behaviour is facilitated by the silence by those who know of it, and fear of recrimination and shame by their victims.
I also share the concern of Diana Mahabir about the process for hearing and interrogating these incidents.
What then needs to be done?
We must insist that sexual harassment policies and protocols be put in place in every organisation. And followed. The impunity exists because there has been no mainstreaming of gender and sexual harassment policies.
I believe that the process of filling high vacant positions of power, whether in the public or private sector, should include psychometrics which interrogate these attitudes and beliefs and due diligence reviews done, that may expose earlier actions. That way it may be possible to weed out those who may be unsuitable for such high office.
I, like many others, remain traumatised by the frequency of these incidents. It is clear that the trauma is felt by more than the victims, but spreads to family, friends and co-workers. Once more I make the call for us all to get up, stand up and speak up for gender Justice.