The Unsilencing & Inspiration of ‘Me Too’

I’ve been reading many tweets, Facebook posts and articles about ‘me too’. The number of people using those five letters is a reminder of how pervasive sexual violence is in communities around the world, in communities across the Caribbean, and in communities at home – Jamaica.

Survivors are talking.

Silencing – one of the features of rape culture is slowly becoming a thing of the past. I also notice that as more survivors speak and challenge the status quo of silence, the shaming is being reduced – I see many compassionate responses to those who have decided that they won’t be silenced anymore. And the blaming – the third feature of rape culture isn’t a feature in many of the responses I’ve seen to ‘me too’. I’ve realised that some survivors have gone a step further – they are naming perpetrators; they are casting the blame where it belongs, and they are shaming those who ought to be shamed.

I know it will take much more to rid the society of this nasty life-ruining culture of sexual violence, but I am hopeful. It may take several shockwaves at different points in our history to experience the change that we need, but that’s no reason to give up, at least not in the ways I have, because I was wrong about many women who used to inspire me – women I thought would defend, ad infinitum, survivors and their right to a life free from sexual violence and their right to justice.

It’s going to take a revolution, and the revolution may happen in stages and with bold actions; movements may sometimes seem disjointed, but the revolution will happen — I feel it in my bones. I know one day when I don’t feel so defeated and remember all the supportive voices around me, the fire that is needed to be a part of the revolution will once again be set ablaze in me.

For now, I am watching the fire ablaze in many of you, and I am watching with humility and hope. And I hope that for every woman, for every person who said ‘me too’, there is a sea of people available to support because the ‘unsilencing’ is the beginning. For change to become our new reality, healing must take centre stage, and we must not give up on our ailing justice system. We must make it better, generations of young women and young men need our advocacy now. We need to do what we must to ensure that justice is possible for all of us.

For a while there I thought the status quo had won, I thought we had failed, especially those girls who we promised we would fight with and for, but I see hope and a brighter future and I am feeling inspired again. I am feeling inspired today.


My Womb: Who Owns it?

I am deviating a bit in this piece from my usual LGBT-themed posts to talk a little about women and their reproductive rights.

Blog procreationI write about this because somewhere in the minds of a few (?) Jamaicans (and I suppose other nationalities) it is a woman’s duty to procreate and replenish the earth with offspring unlimited.

Whether as women we believe it is our duty to procreate through planning or if “wi happm fi get ketch”, it does not give us the right to discriminate against other women who do not share that view regarding the function of their anatomy. Not all women care to ignite their maternal instinct (if they have it). Not all women have the desire to mother a child or children. And certainly not all women are equipped with the skills to be an effective parent (I suspect theignostic1 is one of those).

Blog procreation 2Furthermore, if a woman “happm fi get ketch”, it should be her right to determine if she wants anything (or anyone?) to be housed temporarily in her womb. It’s hers, right? Well, I would like to think so. I am not aware of any law in Jamaica that makes a woman the mere occupier of premises where her womb is concerned, on the supposition that the Crown has absolute ownership of all wombs much like property/land. If that law does in fact exist, all in favour of abortion should begin the process of seeking asylum.

A woman, in my opinion, is the ultimate decision-maker with respect to her womb. At an early age I made a decision not to procreate and was duly informed that as soon as I entered mid-twenties my perspective and philosophy on same would change. Sadly (?), I am in my 30s and I still choose not to “multiply and replenish the earth”.

Blog procreation 3Why does every woman need to replenish the earth? Are we aware that there is “an overall increase in the number of reports [of abuse and neglect of children]…over the period [2007-2011]” according to the Office of the Children’s Registry [2012]? Are we aware that persons who give birth are abandoning the beautiful ones who have been born? Are we aware that the state does not have a handle on child abandonment? Like seriously, what is this fuss about women who do not want to procreate or women who do not want their wombs occupied, or women who just don’t want to mother a child? Get over it!

—I think this is ranting, not blogging. My apologies.