Posts tagged ‘monday musings’

August Monday

Today is Emancipation Day and across the region nations are taking part in some sort of commemorative exercises, carnivals, festivals take part and bare in mind what Derevolushunwidin spoke of regarding being mindful of what Emancipation really represents.

I read this on a friend’s FB page yesterday and wanted to share:

All my friends are exiles,

born in one place, we live in another
and with true sophistication,
in most surprising places–
where you would never expect to find us.

Between us we people the world.

With aplomb and a command of languages
we stride across continents
with the self-assurance of those who know
with absolute certainty
where they come from.With the globe at our command,
we have everywhere to go,
but home.

-Abena P.A. Busia from “Testimonies of Exile”
Feeling thoughtful, hopeful, often concerened, grateful and fyahful.

justice, rape and sexual violence

Trigger warning: This article or section, or pages it links to, contain information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.


  • I have written about rape and sexual violence.
  • I have read a lot about rape and sexual violence.
  • I have thought a lot about rape and sexual violence.
  • I support a lot of initiatives regionally that deal with rape and sexual violence.
  • I have said no and it’s been ignored.
  • I have said no and it’s been accepted with grace.
  • I have said no and it’s been accepted and I’ve been made to feel shitty about it.
  • My politics are unapologetically feminist. I think rape is violent and often inextricably linked to masculinist notions of power and entitlement. Victims and survivors of rape (who are predominantly women) are never to blame.
  • I believe that regret regarding a sexual encounter and not wanting it to happen at the time (regardless of whether it is conveyed in ways a partner thinks are “strong enough”) are two very different things. The first indicates a conscious decision to have sex at the time, the second does not.

Today however, my reaction to hearing of a case (of which I know no details) where a man was sentenced to ten years for rape threw me for a loop. I was genuinely shocked at the length of the sentence. Well firstly, I was surprised that the case went to trial, and was successful, without it being a statutory rape case. But secondly, and almost frighteningly and shockingly, I thought: 10 years is too long.

What my reaction made me realise is that I have never really thought about punishment
and consequences surrounding rape and sexual violence. Most of my work has been on the prevention tip. With inspirations like Yes Means Yes I have more readily focused on sexuality, negotiating sexual relationships and teen romance to talk about sexual violence.

Upon further reflection though, my issue is not so much around the sentence itself, or sexual violence but my complete and utter lack of faith in the prison system. For anyone who knows me and my future this is pretty ironic. But I believe Angela Davis has the right idea, prisons need to be abolished. The length of the sentence is not a deterrent and I think in the long run it actually breeds contempt in the individual and the wider community.

Rape and sexual violence are not victim-less crimes but I think we need to think more explicitly about what we would like to see that will make things better. I believe in the possibilities of trans-formative justice. I know we’re not there yet, but I hope one day to be a part of making that shift. So regardless of a conviction, i.e. once a charge is brought, fully off the top of my head I would like to see:

for survivors of sexual violence:

  • praise for coming forward
  • counselling re:
    • (re)building intimacy and trust
    • dealing: with community backlash and negative emotions

for perpetrators of sexual violence

  • counselling re:
    • power, coercion and entitlement
    • negative emotions
  • psycho-education models re: enthusiastic consent

Longer periods in jail do not increase chances of rehabilitation. In the Caribbean as our crime rates continue to rise, and our prisons begin to fill to the brim we need to think more comprehensively about the long term effects of these measures on our communities. As a future mental health professional, I know there are possibilities, I certainly recognise the need. But without a doubt, we need to be more supportive (for the survivors) and creative (for both the survivors and the perpetrators) when it comes to justice.

#4 how are you f’ing up your community?

the penultimate post in the f’ed up series

how are our fabulous six f’ing up their communities, you ask? well…


full length individual trascripted videos on f’ing up:

virtual space | conversations | activism for equality

via arts | sexual health | yoga & farming

#3 f’d up people you admire- personal, regional & iconic

Our 3rd installation of the f’d up series features our sensational 6

sharing 3 people they think are pretty f’d up:

who they are + how/where we met + how they’re f’d up + links to the original video + links to their works around

loving old(er) people…

If my Granny Grace were alive today, we would have been celebrating her 91st birthday. If my Granny Helen were alive, she would be 92 in 32 days.

I’m at the point in my life where I’m able to realise how little I knew my grandparents. I spent a few weeks in Granny Grace’s house in Trinidad each year and since I was 11 or so, Granny Helen lived in the same country as me. I always joked that Granny Grace’s favourite word was “elegant” (I was not a ladylike young woman) and could put on wuk up shows that would have Granny Helen clutching her stomach in pain from excessive laughter, but beyond their respective “grandmothering” personalities, I really didn’t know them much as people.

Dealing with aging family members has been a regular conversation in my house since my grandfather got sick 15+ years ago. I’ve learned a lot from these talks. I know that my parents are good with being put in a nursing home. I know they don’t want to be a burden to their children. I know if they could choose, they would pass like my mother’s parents (short illness and then fairly quickly) and not like my dad’s (a decade of steadily going downhill).

But in me taking in my parents’ talking about/figuring out/doing the practical things around caring – the writing of cheques, the grocery shopping, the lifting my grandparents out of bed and into their wheelchairs every morning – I didn’t take in much of the other stuff.  Maybe I was resentful of my grandparents’ aging processes because of my father’s increasingly bad back and the sheer amount of time the practical care took up. Maybe I was too young/immature and my grandparents were too unwell for most of my life for  me to understand/know anything else. Whatever it was, I never quite learned how to get to know and love my grandparents.

So what I’ve learned about loving the old(er) people in my life isn’t necessarily things I’ve learned, so much as things that in hindsight, I wish I would have done with my grannies especially. And it’s not just about old(er) people I guess, it’s about people who are around me who I often don’t take time to know beyond their “role” in my life, but would like to: grandparents, parents, teachers, cleaners, whoever…

  1. Ask questions. Everyday, we create at least one new story. This means people over the age of 80 too many stories to tell if you ask the right questions. I would have asked grannies what their parents were like, about first loves and first jobs, what their favourite colours were.
  2. Be open. I don’t think my grandparents knew me that well either. I wish I’d told them a little more about myself and my interests.
  3. Spend time from playing cards or scrabble, to sitting down and doing nothing. All the times I couldn’t think of anything to say, or was anxious to get back to my “real” life (and by real I mean virtual since I live(d) on my computer), I wish I had brought the book or laptop into the room and just sat in her presence a little bit longer.

Happy birthday, Granny!

#2 what do you do in your personal life that’s a little F’ed up?


Victims Speak Out

Women of Antigua: When a Woman Moans

addfyahandstir’s bookshelf

Full length individual videos with transcripts:

| hair removal |  make upconversation & speaking upVictims Speak Out | performance arts |  reading and writing |

#1 what do you think when you hear the f word?

The f word can mean a lot of things. For the right now we mean feminism.We asked six young women what they think when they hear the f word. Did/ do you think any of these things?

Be sure to check out their video clips (with transcriptions) below!

| it takes work… | independence & assertiveness | love & compassion |

| strength & revolution |

| development & respect | choices & possibility |

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