Friday 25 September, 2020

Minister shares her #lifeinleggings story

?As the #lifeinleggings hashtag continues to spread across social media with women from all walks of life sharing their experiences with sexual harassment and abuse, one local politician has chosen to share her story too.

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ayanna Webster-Roy, shared the story while speaking at a consultation on gender-based violence this morning.

She said while she has never been the victim of rape or domestic abuse, she once had an unsettling experience with a “peeping tom”.

To make matters worse, she said, the police did not take her seriously when she reported the matter.

She said the police were more interested in making her recount what she was wearing and what the peeping tom might have seen, than in taking action against him.

“I remember the feeling of hopelessness,” she said.

Because of the lack of help from the police, she added, her husband decided to take matters into his own hands by finding the man and beating him.

While she noted this was not an appropriate response, she said it was the only form of justice she had gotten.

She said her experience with the police was not unique and other women have had to deal with their reports not taken seriously, until it is too late.The Minister called on all law enforcement agencies to support victims and treat reports seriously.

Webster-Roy said she has also been the victim of unsolicited groping and sexual harassment. She added that she stands in solidarity with the many women and girls who have been brave enough to share their #lifeinleggings story thus far.

She said the government would work with all relevant agencies to put the framework in place to end gender-based violence.

The #lifeinleggings hashtag was created by two Barbadian women, to draw attention to the instances of sexual harassment and abuse faced by women on a daily basis. 

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