2014. The year of ‘femine’ scandal.
So far we’ve witnessed locally infamous female-on-female fights at schools, the rise of Trini Homewreckers.com (an adulterous-expose-type website that targets mostly female ‘home-wreckers’, now with a following of nearly 10,000 folks in just about 3 months), the drunken boobie abuse of a female flight attendant by the Minister of the People himself, and lastly of course, the Sharma on Sasha fiasco (no pun intended)…
Here’s my take on the mis-glorious affairs; we Trinis (and other people of the world) have a time-proven tradition of cyber-bullying perpetrated against any woman who expresses sexualism or sexual liberty (be it conscious, misinformed or otherwise).
Let’s be honest, lots of us have our own kinky moments, but many wisely keep them private. Nonetheless, we are an exhibitionist culture, with an annual Carnival that’s renowned for the attached bad behaviour and drunken looseness.
But we are unforgiving. Especially to our women. (The machismo men are glorified for it.)
Case in point, our multi-talented fashionista, guru and design-challenge winner Anya Ayoung Chee. Despite Ms. Ayoung Chee’s fabulous track record of international accomplishments and philanthropic work, she remains primarily known as the ex- Miss Universe contestant with the threesome sex tape, who won Project Runway 2011 (Season 9).
Fast-track to the most current local fiasco with Sasha Singh and the now resigned, ex-Minister Chandresh Sharma, at its helm. We all know the story; Singh, a young, established entrepreneur and ex-girlfriend of the much older and still married Sharma, decided to step in on a school teacher’s behalf (who is apparently the mother of Sharma’s unacknowledged and unsupported love child). Things got even more hairy when mediator Singh was pushed roughly in a public parking lot, losing consciousness, right in view of Sharma’s alleged 12 year old girl child.
Here’s what peeves me most about the scenario: the dumb comment about Brahmin caste, Sat Maharaj’s dotish comment about it only being of a domestic nature, and the leakage of Singh’s personal nude/ semi-nude pictures to the social media (allegedly by UNC supporters).
Yup. Especially that last one. Singh is now being singled out as a promiscuous, gold-digger, and fingers are being pointed at her colourful bedroom past instead of the abusive issue at hand. The public’s focus seems to have generally soured against the support of the young lady in her brave stance against the abuse encountered (and to some extent, against dead-beat dads).
It’s sex scandal upon sex scandal. And always, the blame seems to lie with the females.
This present-day scenario reminds me about how this worldwide phenomenon perpetrates every sub-society:
- In 2012, 15 year old Canadian Amanda Michelle Todd committed suicide after being blackmailed, bullied and physically assaulted, initially because of a topless photo gone viral. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyHX7wMJBY0
- During the same year, 15-year-old Audrie Pott’s suicide was triggered after drunken, naked pictures of her being sexually assaulted by teenage boys at a party were posted online. http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/sexting-shame-and-suicide-20130917?utm_source=theatlantic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=partner
- Last year, 17 year old Canadian Rehtaeh Parsons’ death was also attributed to the online distribution of photos of an alleged gang rape that occurred 17 months prior to her suicide.
- Additionally, on an international forum, we welcomed in January with another horror story from India. Police reported that tribal elders ordered a 20-year-old woman to be raped in public by up to 12 men as punishment for an ‘unauthorised’ relationship. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/23/india-gang-rape-case-sexual-violence
And unfortunately, there are countless more.
These instances of bullying, cyber-bullying, abuse, and rapes, all have two main factors in common: (1) after these girl’s moments of misjudgement, they were publicly slandered during their moments of weakness, and (2) opposing sides all tried to point to the female victims’ ‘promiscuous’ track records and glamorised the misgivings that the ladies “looked for it”.
Sadly our rape-culture mentality is still very alive. Woman are not protected but stigmatised. And it is horrifying.
Please acknowledge that I am in no way a supporter of damaging extramarital affairs, nor do I hold extremely unattached values or extreme liberal views about sexuality and the like. Another person’s bedroom business is not my business, and most persons never expect their private affairs to be shared on public forums. However when this principle is violated, parties involved become victims of show when their trust is betrayed. Then, in their moments of intense vulnerability, we Joe public, pounce in, like packs of lascivious, ruthless hyenas, and rip ‘em further to shreds. We judge, criticise and condemn slander, bash and name-call; and mostly without having even the remotest interaction with the victims.
I will conclude on this note from Anya Ayoung Chee’s winsome mother. During her interview with the Newsday’s Carol Matroo for the 2011 article “Anya’s life was Hell”, Ayoung Chee stated:
“I think the ethical issues are also the fact that people saw it. They were not yours to see, yet people passed it on. I am still stunned that you could actually send that tape on to someone else when it’s not yours. I think a lot of people just had a good time…
There is something in the human condition that can take you to the lowest of yourself and we saw a moment like that. In my view, individuals went to the lowest of themselves, and society went to the lowest of itself.” http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,150137.html
…. Ponder ‘pon it.