Columns

Toxic men, abused women, and trial by media

Franklin Johnston

Friday, December 01, 2017

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I am intrigued by our men as we watch living dramas in America as if sex abuse does not involve our politicians, entertainers, and businessmen too. Grace Jones gave a shout and our men tout machismo, laud their sex drive, and we love to bawl injustice, but all is quiet — why?

Abuse of women and kids is not unusual or new, but unacceptable! History is the story of men, by men, for men who run things for millennia. Men abused women as chattels and as the spoils of war. Attempts to hear women's stories and liberate them are puny. But this unprecedented gender upheaval in the USA may shift the moral GPS. Women gain ground in Western Europe, North America, and the Anglophone Caribbean, but US President Donald Trump is a riptide pushing the boat of gender equality on to the rocky shoals. What is the future?

The revolution started with candidate Trump's tales of grabbing women's genitals. Women were quietly enraged at the impotence of American justice and acted. Now sexual miscreants are being exposed. Man-woman relations will get worse before it gets better, and soon to “chat-up” a woman may lead to jail. Kevin Spacey cannot work as allegations of sexual misconduct not at the level of an indictable event block him, and British Member of Parliament Michael Fallon resigns saying his behaviour has “fallen short”. So what of the bad man “weh nuh respect ooman an' bad-up bungle a gal”? Dare we ask abour our Members of Parliament and CEOs?

Historical sexual misconduct stalks Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore as there is no statute bar in the court of public media. Matt Lauer cited and fired by day 3 —a record! So where is the rule of law? Can we spot evil men vs a Lothario wooing a possible lifemate? Our men harass women and rapistdons are entitled. Men make risqué remarks to fine women; is flirting to end? In future a Red Riding Hood will not meet a wolf nor Snow White seven dwarfs? No more suitor trying to win a lady with e-mail and gifts?

In all this the UN and its agencies, including local interest groups, seem as morality police homogenising nations with an agenda to end sex abuse, flogging, homosexuality, capital punishment, and use Jamaica as their micro lab for social, economic and spiritual engineering. We are a grumpy black state; got tons of UN aid with indifferent results, but are vocal. Our brand means people love us and agencies — United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, International Monetary Fund — value us because we jump their hoops with Pavlovian reliability. The tirade by the UN tourism czar against exclusive resorts insults Jamaican innovators who gave visitors choice in the dark days. We are abused in our own land. Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett should demand an apology.

The UN cannot penetrate Asia, Arabia, Africa, or Levant, where abuse, patriarchy, illiberal acts flourish, and may see us as a gateway via Rastafari, reggae, iconic athletes, miscegenation, and our motto. In Abrahamic faiths, God is male, so patriarchy is sealed by Jew, Christian, Muslim — three quarters of the world. Has the UN morphed into a faith body whose 'pope' is the secretary general with its own agenda? Jamaica may be its crucible, and we the unwitting but not unwilling poster boy and on the front page is sexual abuse. What should we be doing as this firestorm takes down America's finest?

We are by legend more libidinous than our embattled friends up north — as our entertainers and their salacious lyrics and dances show the world. When will our cases buss out? There is usually a lag in issues from the metropole, so we should be pre-emptive though fear of reprisal may mitigate the extremes of women skewering powerful men in politics, the Church and business. Is our incestuous media up to it?

A steep power differential fuels abuse and we can avoid it, but there is a price — loss of job and reputation. We need transparency between the powerful and the powerless. A priest, Member of Parliament, teacher, manager, judge, doctor, lawyer, Customs or immigration officer, and minister are invested with power as are individuals in charge of giving out work, food or benefits, so we need firm rules and sanctions.

Then workplace protocols on gender relations should be mandated in firms, civil service, churches, campuses, parties, charities, etc, and gender auditors trained and empowered. All workers need safe space for confidential disclosure and this should be backed by law as male abuse is entrenched.

Next, workshops for staff to be trained in awareness, deflection and reporting are keys. The respect agenda, laws impacting gender relations; sexual etiquette for parliamentarians, ministers, CEOs must be mandated as media reports untested in a court may change lives or impair shareholder value. Two lives are at stake, so risk analyses are key, and alleged victim and abuser need full confidentiality. Gold diggers exist!

Finally, Cabinet must create an Equalities Commission-type body to pursue — in total secrecy — all conduct: sexual, racial, religious, ethnic, etc. We must create a culture of confidence to reassure women. A man reported his female boss clutching at his “lunchbox” — men too and pregnant schoolgirls evidence sexual crime yet police do nothing. Will Cabinet act now or await the whirlwind? Stay conscious!

 

Franklin Johnston, DPhil (Oxon), is a strategist and project manager. Send comments to the Observer or franklinjohnstontoo@gmail.com.

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