Hack’s call for modesty in dress is a call for prudent behaviour

Dear Editor,

Mr Moeen ul-Hack (whose December 4 Stabroek News letter, ‘Modest dress would protect a woman against rape’) has stimulated much discussion should be commended for his bold stand. His letter sought to make concrete recommendations for Guyanese to adopt to counteract the endemic violence against women. First, respect women and treat them as your own. Second, promote education to teach alternative dispute resolution; in his parlance to use head instead of hands. Third, create a violence-free home by refraining from alcohol and other drugs. Fourth, refrain from pornography, advertisement and any ‘culture’ that promotes violence against women. And fifth, adopt a dress code of modesty.

Much criticism has been heaped upon Mr Hack. His dress code is supposed to protect women against rape and deter men from contemplating such. He has been unfairly maligned as “a classic case of blaming the victim,” etc. While a dress code alone will not protect women from rape, it should not be discarded as outlandish. The perfect analogy is the Guyanese home. Guyana is a crime-ridden society; every Guyanese house is equipped with many security devices: locks, grillwork, door and window alarms, etc. Had Mr Hack been recommending grillwork for a home, would he be blaming the victim or condoning the perpetrator? The answer is a resounding ‘no.’ Given the nature of  Guyanese society, any house in Georgetown without grillwork and all the security apparatus that is required for living there invites invasion. Similarly, the logic of Mr Hack’s dress code, while not disputing that rape is a crime of power and dominance, is to ask women and men not to dress in a way to attract the attention of a potential rapist. Mr Hack’s call for modesty in dress is a call for prudent behaviour.

A fair question has been asked, how to define modest dress? A practical approach can be fashioned from US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s pronouncement on pornography: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it…” Similarly, decorum in dress is discerned when seen.

Mr Hack has no apologies to make for his December 4 letter.

Yours faithfully,
Roger Ally

More in Letters

default placeholder

Bid Protest Committee ‘resignation’

Dear Editor, The Stabroek News article captioned ‘Chair of Bid Protest Committee resigns’ published in its July 27, 2016 edition is false.

default placeholder

Ministry of Public Infrastructure has budgeted for work on Leguan roads to begin in August

Dear Editor, Reference is made to the letter published in the Monday July 25, edition of the Stabroek News by Mr Hans M Buer, under the headline ‘Leguan roads are in a terrible state’.

default placeholder

Indigenous patient who broke bone on July 20 told by GPH to return August 8 for setting

Dear Editor, For years Indigenous people have struggled to cope with the health system which seems to have been designed without our people in mind.

default placeholder

Prof Persaud had a distinguished career in the Commonwealth Secretariat

Dear Editor, It was only last week in one of my pieces I mentioned that there are a few outstanding Guyanese in the diaspora.

default placeholder

Passengers treated with utter contempt at the Essequibo ferry stellings

Dear Editor, I don’t know why more people who travel on the Parika to Supenaam ferry service aren’t writing to defend the gentleman who was made to wait several hours, while other people who came after him were allowed to board the ferry.

default placeholder

Public expectation of politicians has hardened

Dear Editor, It is with surprise that one reads of reaction to the structure, functioning and legal basis of the anti-corruption unit SOCU, and of reservations about SARU.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: