CAFRA: PNM’s skit feeds into rape culture

(Trinidad Express) The Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA) said the skit performed at the People’s National Movement (PNM) family day feeds into “rape culture”.

In a release CAFRA stated that it disputes the statement by National Security Minister Stuart Young that the skit was “a bit of fun” as it asked “at whose expense?”.

The skit, which features a woman draped in a yellow sari being disrobed by men dressed in red gorilla costumes, have sparked outrage from several quarters.

CAFRA expressed disappointment in the skit stating that the aspects of it evoked violence and insensitivity.

It called on the PNM and all political parties, to embark on internal education programmes with their supporters to deepen understanding and commitment to non-sexism and to a culture of diversity, respect, tolerance and non-violence.

CAFRA stated it stands ready to support such initiatives as a non-partisan membership organisation.

“The act of removing another’s clothes without consent is an act of violence.

When men do this to women, it is usually in the context of a sexual assault. This kind of ‘skit’ therefore feeds directly into rape culture. The men’s conduct of violating a woman’s privacy and freedom of expression is also a feature of gender inequality where men express power and control through domination.

And yes, the idea of the dis-robing of an Indian woman feeds into harmful stereotypes of Indian women’s passivity and brings to mind the polarizing centrality of ethnicity in the political dynamics of this country. The skit also suggests unfortunate stereotypes of men and in particular African men that should not be perpetuated,” the release stated.

CAFRA stated that some of the messages it received are that the person being disrobed of her sari is a woman and the disrobers are dressed in costumes of violent animals- gorillas.

 “We note the implication that UNC supporters are all Indians. These messages, intended or thoughtlessly conveyed, feed into or mirror some of the worst aspects of Trinidadian life,” it stated.

CAFRA stated that this country requires better from our political parties.

“We deserve thoughtful debate and dialogue. We deserve decency and intelligence from our politicians. And we deserve and demand men who reject harmful masculinity in the private and public domains,” it stated.

It noted further that we live in precarious times with high levels of violent crime including rapes and murders of women.

 

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