Petition to Anglican Diocese to Stand Against Rape Culture
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Prior to the 2017 Boxing Day Junkanoo, the Royal Bahamas Police Force published Junkanoo Safety Tips, in which they directed women to dress appropriately. The statement said: "To avoid unwanted attention please dress appropriately. If you are appropriately dress it takes away the chance of being groped or touch in an inappropriate manner." It was deleted almost immediately.
Since then, Archdeacon James Palacious of the Anglican Church and Vice President of The Bahamas Christian Council has come out in support of that message. He said if you're dressed like a prostitute you will be treated as such. Although he said that because a woman is dressed in a provocative nature doesn't mean they should be treated like such, this point was lost in the message that because of the way you are dressed you will be subject to harassment.
In fact, statistics show that the way you dress has no connection to sexual assault.
Women can attest that regardless of what they wear they are victims of harassment and sexual assault, whether it be constant cat-calling or someone going as far as groping them without their consent.
Palacious defended the RBPF post and said that people will be offended because they do not understand. It is him that doesn't understand and should have quite frankly stayed quiet, given his track record of statements rejected from the public.
As women in The Bahamas, we are told that it is our responsibility to stop a man from raping us or assaulting us because we as a society have failed to teach men accountability and respect.
Statements such as these lend to women believing that sexual assault is indeed their fault. They place no blame on the men who feel entitled to treat women as they want. This is wrong and in 2017, almost 2018, we will not stand for being told we are asking for it because of the way we want to dress. This is archaic and it has absolutely no place in an ever-growing progressive society.
I'm calling on the Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas & The Turks & Caicos to publicly rebuke Archdeacon Palacious' statement and remove him from his post and to actively engage with organizations such as Equality Bahamas or Hollaback! Bahamas to gain a better understanding of gender-based violence and discrimination, and develop programs that can be implemented within the Anglican church. Women are not property and we are absolutely not to blame for a nation of men that believe they have the right to act without consent.
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