I am tired. Tired of having to defend my right as a woman to walk the streets and feel safe. I’m tired of reading and hearing “What was she wearing/doing?” when a woman is assaulted or killed. I’m tired of hearing “well she look for it” and “what you did expect?” I am tired of worrying about being judged and worrying about where I can and cannot walk or what I can and cannot wear. I am tired of being in a constant state of wariness/readiness while walking down the street because who knows what might happen if I don’t acknowledge the catcall or reply to the greeting… ahem. I’m also tired of being told it’s MY responsibility to keep myself safe from being raped, that if I don’t do this, or wear that, or drink that, or go there, then I ‘should’ be safe. But… it don’t work so. As my friend Queen Macoomeh says in her excellent writing, Ah men,
“But we, us girls, the sacred and the profane among us, have tried that, haven’t we? We’ve covered ourselves with burkas and hijabs and gowns and robes but still men rape us and slash our faces and throw acid on us. We’ve walked in groups and yet men open fire and drag us from our schools and burn us alive. In some countries we are banned from education, not allowed to drive cars, our genitals mutilated, we do as we are told, yet still, we are attacked and raped and abused in all heinous manners. I do not know how to stop us from being harmed.”
I’m also tired of hearing “all men are ranting, raving demons of lust and must not be tempted.” Isn’t that the subtext of “women must not put themselves in a position to be abused?” I know that many men are now going to rail up and say “not all ah we so”… then why allyuh does let people speak for allyuh and say so. Why is it “(victim) don’t get raped” instead of “(perpetrator) don’t rape” [yes men get raped by women and men and women rape men and women, and let’s not forget the children]. The image I get is of slavering wild dogs following behind a woman brave enough to show any amount of skin than what is considered “normal.”
I’m glad to hear men speak out against Tim Kee’s misogyny, and the way women are perceived and treated in our society, but more needs to be done than the few lone voices crying in the wilderness. As a friend of mine said, MEN NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS! Men are not entitled to women’s bodies, no way, no how!
As to the female supporters Tim Kee ‘says’ he has, we all grew up in the same society that judges women for everything that happens to them, and gives a free pass to the men doing the crime, so this doesn’t come as a surprise to me. I don’t really expect anything better most of the time, especially in this highly hypocritical country of ours. As I saw on my FB timeline, why is it OK for men to walk half-naked on the road, in or out of Carnival, but women can’t do the same? Women are some of the main upholders of judgment and injury to other women, and until we learn that helping each other results in a better world for us all, rather than tearing each other down, this will continue to happen.
[The Councillors who are the only ones who have the power to remove Tim Kee, according to the law:
According to sections 15 and 16 of the Municipal Corporations Act (http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/…/alphabe…/lawspdfs/25.04.pdf):
15. (1) The Mayor shall hold office for a term which shall be the same as that of the Councillors and Aldermen.
(2) Unless the Mayor resigns or ceases to be qualified or becomes disqualified or is removed from office in accordance with this Act, he shall continue in office until his successor in office has accepted office and has made and subscribed the appropriate declaration.
16. A Mayor shall be removed as Chairman of a Council upon the resolution passed by the Council and supported by the votes of not less than three-fourths of all the members of the Council.
[Thanks to Keith Francis for that research btw.]
The movement stirred by Tim Kee’s comments in the death of Asami Nagakiya needs to continue whether or not Tim Kee is removed, so that people see why all the fuss is being made. It’s not that he doesn’t have the right to say what he thinks (although as an office-holder, he damn well should think before he talks) but that what he said was the height of victim-blaming, slut-shaming and derisive and hateful towards women, and indicates that he also sees women who don’t act “decently’ as deserving of whatever happens to them. Also, seeing that this is not the first time he’s made similar comments, one wonders what goes on in his mind when he sees women behaving “lewdly” (his words, not mine.” Does he wish he could “abuse” them since they’re “asking for it”? Do we really want someone like that making decisions for the populace?
While I agree with the calls for Tim Kee to go, there are many others like him, in our offices of power, in our streets, in our homes and our beds. The conversation must continue, whatever else happens. The rape culture that runs rampant through our society, that says men are entitled to women’s bodies, that women must be responsible for policing their own behaviours and bodies, as well as being responsible for how men behave around them, that says that if a woman is raped or murdered, the fault is hers and not her rapist/murderer, needs to be discussed and seen for what it is, because only then will we change… if we want to.
Since I’m tired (mentally, physically and psychologically), I’ll leave you with some thought-provoking pieces of writing on the issue:
I haven’t mentioned Tim Kee’s non-apology, because others have done it so beautifully elsewhere.
And while I vehemently support the call for the removal of the Mayor by the former Prime Minister, one cannot help but wonder what her record on gender issues was in the five years she was in office.
Finally, CAN WE CATCH, PROSECUTE AND CONVICT THE PERPETRATOR!!!!