Street Harassment in Trinidad and Tobago via Women Speak

Simone Leid

On Women Speak, founder Simone Leid, offers a new online place for women in Trinidad and Tobago to share their stories of discrimination and read related news. Unsurprisingly, street harassment has already come up a few times.

On Feb. 5, a woman shared the following story:

“It was a morning like any other in 2005, except for the fact that on my way to work and as I approached Chacon Street, Port of Spain, absorbed in my own thoughts, a man grabbed my crotch and kept walking. I froze for several seconds, shocked and scared. There weren’t many people around and the few who were there said nothing, so I believe they saw nothing. Physically weak, I took the nearest taxi in silence…” (read more)

Also on Feb. 5, Ms. Leid wrote a post: Harassment is punishable by law!

“A person who pursues a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another and which he knows or ought reasonably to know amounts to harassment of the other is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of two thousand dollars and to imprisonment for six months.”

Good to know that street harassment is illegal there!

On Feb. 8, she featured an excerpt from an article about the commonality and “harmlessness” of street harassment in Trinidad and Tobago:

“But in my 20s I remember the sense of intimidation and fear that ran through me every time I passed a group of boys or men on the street. Would they just say ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’ in that I’m-a-nice-guy way or would there be something disgusting today?”

And yesterday, she posted the video “My Bad Thing” by Chucky, writing:

“Men need to join in the fight against Street Harassment and build loving and supportive relationships with their women by standing up to other men and letting them know that disrespecting women is unacceptable.”

Yes, this is definitely true!

In watching the video
, though, I wasn’t sure, is the main guy upset about street harassment because “his” girlfriend was targeted and otherwise he wouldn’t care? I know sometimes it seems like the only way to get guys to pay attention to this issue is by saying, look it’s happening to your girlfriends, sisters, mothers, daughters, and wives. But it’s not a lot of progress if they only care about the issue when it happens to women they feel some ownership over because it threatens their manhood.

Take a look at the video and see what you think it’s about.

I’ve already learned quite a bit about street harassment in Trinidad and Tobago and I look forward to learning more on Women Speak!

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