Sexual Violence

It is my opinion that to a large degree there is a systemic problem in Bermuda revolving around sex, both the differential treatment of the sexes, and the exploitation of young children and the use of violence to coerce especially female citizens into sex acts. It is not hard to also see that there is a connection between race and sex as well – for example the stories of sexual exploitation of Filipina women nannies are legion. Obviously there is also the connection to immigration here (many exploited Filipina’s and other women often have their travel documents held by their employers, or are threatened with being deported if they report the abuse).

There is also a growing concern about the use of date-rape drugs, with ‘sexual terrorism’ in the form of STDs (the recent case of an allegedly HIV-positive rapist springs to mind). It is to such a degree that many of our female citizens are afraid to attend events or go out after dark. It is my feeling that much of these hyper-sexualised attitudes, that is the viewing of women as purely sex objects, has a lot to do with the subtle and not to subtle images readily seen on television, in music videos, in video games, in lyrics, in magazines and also through some sort of cultural inertia wherein sexism and attitudes towards sex may be carried on and even magnified through generations.

I am beginning a personal study of these issues, and part of that will involve going through the existing legislation that concerns many of these topics. I doubt that legislation itself will change things, but I do recognise there is a part for it to play. I was wondering if any readers might be able to offer their own thoughts about these issues, what practical steps can be taken to correct these issues (and yes, I’m sure this will lead to discussions about contraceptives being available in the schools, or abortion), what reforms can be made to the legislation and penalties for sex crimes, and how do we combat systemic sexism and attitudes towards sex and exploitation? What can be done? I look forward to hearing suggestions, and will also post on any progress I have in understanding these complex and often taboo issues.

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