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Police Criticised Over Warning On How To Dress

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

THE ROYAL Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) came under heavy fire yesterday for victim blaming, after warning the public to “dress appropriately” while at Junkanoo to “take away the chance of being groped or touched inappropriately”.

In a statement titled “Junkanoo Safety Tips” posted on the RBPF’s Facebook page, which has since been edited to remove the offending suggestion, the RBPF urged members of the public to “leave unnecessary items at home, please dress appropriately and to always be aware of your surroundings.”

The post was seen as offensive and was also criticised for its grammatical errors.

Under the heading “Please 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 (sic).”

The Boxing Day and New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parades have been marred with violence in the past. Many women have also complained about being sexually harassed or groped by men attending the parades.

In response, police have ramped up their presence at Junkanoo and even hailed last year’s Boxing Day Parade as “great success” and being relatively incident free. However, police still sent out the warning as thousands of Bahamians and tourists prepared to head to the highly anticipated festival.

The post drew criticism from members of the public who demanded the RBPF issue an apology and take the statement down.

When contacted, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Stephen Dean confirmed the post was edited to remove the comments referencing dressing appropriately but refused to comment on the post itself.

Senior ACP Dean said the RBPF would issue a statement after he spoke with Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson and the RBPF’s lawyers.

Last night, police press liaison officer, Superintendent Shanta Knowles said Commissioner Ferguson and the RBPF’s leadership team are aware of the public uproar over the Facebook post. She said the matter was being dealt with internally.

Several people shared the RBPF’s post on Facebook before it was edited, criticising the RBPF for promoting “rape culture”.

One person said: “While the grammar is an issue, it pales in comparison to the fact that the RBPF just blamed women for men groping and touching them inappropriately. Long story, short men should not be expected to control themselves but totally gauge their behaviour based on what women choose to wear.”

Another wrote: “This is really some silly foolishness. Dress appropriately and take away the chances of being groped. Any suggestions as to what females ought to wear. Ironic how we still feel ‘she asked for it,’ ironic how we sign on to rape and promote this rape culture.”

Human rights activist Erin Greene shared a post that changed the words of the original statement to reflect what she claims the post should have said “in the first place”.

“Refrain from touching or groping anyone in a manner which is considered inappropriate,” Ms Greene’s post said. “A person’s clothing is definitely not an invitation for harassment. Respect boundaries by seeking their clear consent first. If it is not yes, then it’s no.”

Comments

jujutreeclub 2 years, 9 months ago

I think the police should have been commended for the warning to junkanoo goers especially females to dress appropriately. Nothing in that warning is incorrect nor offensive. When questioned by police as to why they may have touched the person/s inappropriately, the response would be, they were dressed for touching, not that it is right. See it like this, If you park your car with an iphone 8 or laptop or anything valuable on the dashboard, seat or anywhere visible, don't you think a thief passing by would not be tempted to break into the car and steal those personal belongings. It is the same temptation being displayed by dressing inappropriately for those weak folks and those who overcoming those temptations.

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CatIslandBoy 2 years, 9 months ago

Only a sick, twisted, and depraved mind could even begin to suggest that the female victims are responsible for being assaulted by dressing inappropriately. I'm so sorry for Bahamian women. Only in the Bahamas, in this 21st. century, can a woman be raped by her husband, groped and assaulted by any man in public, and it be her fault. How disgusting!

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thomas 2 years, 9 months ago

Nobody said anything about victims being responsible. What was said is to minimize the chance of someone viewing a scantily clad woman as an invitation to be groped, usually by a poorly socialized male, cover your body.

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CatIslandBoy 2 years, 9 months ago

So, you are restricting a woman's dress taste to that which may not be seen as "an invitation to be groped". Pray tell me where does this body covering begin, or end, to fend off the poorly socialized male" Is a Knee-length skirt sufficient? what about a tight-fitting pants that shows all of her curves? How is she supposed to know what will/will not draw attention to her? Even if a woman is dressed in a panty and bra, this should not be taken as an invitation for sex by any man. How ignorant can you really be!

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thomas 2 years, 9 months ago

I can be as ignorant as the person who locks their car when they leave it in a parking lot or my doors and windows at my home. I could leave the door and windows wide open because I like the fresh breeze, but I, for my own safety do not.

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Greentea 2 years, 9 months ago

Jujutreeclub and Thomas- Yall dumb as dirt. There is such a thing as implied meaning- everything isn't literal. Clearly lack any critical thinking skills - the bane of the country. Tell the young ladies who used to have to walk past the old Burger King on Charlotte street corner how being dressed appropriately helped them from getting feel up back in the day. Didn't work then and it won't work now. Stop blaming victims for being victimized.

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joeblow 2 years, 9 months ago

To have made such a comment after jujutreeclub explained why they made their comments shows evidence of a cognitive defect. Common sense would advise every person to take precautions to prevent unfortunate or preventable mishaps. In this instance dressing appropriately in crowded spaces where an idiot might not show self restraint is a totally appropriate suggestion. No one is blaming the victims!!

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sengli02 2 years, 9 months ago

The police are there to protect.. I'm just saying!!

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pablojay 2 years, 9 months ago

The post was deleted because of the negative response garnered, but it was put there because of what is known by the police and i am sure they know much more than we do on the subject . When i was a teenager over forty years ago, i used to hear first hand stories of what some of
the young men from my area did , despicable as it was for me to hear, when moving through a crowded sidewalk. You can guess which ladies got their attention.

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TorontoGal 2 years, 9 months ago

Back to the same old nonsense and believing men grope and assault women because of sex.

Grow up boys!!!

Sexual assaults are not about sex but about POWER over someone!! Women and some men have been assaulted for years be they wear a bikini or a turtle neck and jeans.

Tell women to dress appropriately is BS. Better to tell the men to keep their filthy hands off someone else...PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!

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nobodies_child 2 years, 9 months ago

I’ll suggest appropriate festival ware… a one piece, doesn’t cover much but communicates in a language that translate clearly to the alpha idiots and the short of sense.…A stylish custom fit, ergonomic Holster with the full complement of accessories, Mace, Tasers Metal and Magic U know; (like when you buy a car with all the bells and whistles…..). This may help bridge the comprehension gap, then women will not have browse through their closet and dressers drawers or their moms or grand moms clothing to choosing which garment made of silk or linen will be grope, grab, rape or foolproof…… It will take pressure from all angles to transform this pervasive blame women for …… women being unsafe in the company of men idea. More must be shared but I’ll summarize #Me & U Too from baby girls to mothers who have nurtured many, the global crisis or women safety is more than an extra bit of fabric can fix. Bahamas I beseech you to fall forward fast on this matter of the safety or women and girls, and the action and responsibilities of men. If in our country it is time to encourage the women in our communities who all year long, all lifelong plan to attend the most culturally significant ritual of our young commonwealth, and the public service announcement from our law enforcement sees fit to encourage women girls locals and visitors to darn near consider wearing sleeping bags and hope that tempers the testosterone glitch that makes the men accost their female friends, sisters, daughters and mothers…Ok all your suggesting is she’s ware a few extra yards of fabric that should work, except it don’t work all that well in the middle east and women there mind the laws of god and man regarding how they should dress as well as when and where they come and go. Ladies like diamonds are transform from strangling black coal to crystal clear… By any means ladies Hold Safe Space, while midget mind states clear the dust and embrace, Male Consciousness Evolution…….. Men it is ok to think broader, act better, and to use your words “Man Up” cause if she’s hurt…. we’s hurt…. Men not all men, you know who you are make right your actions there is un forgivable and unforgettable pain as a consequence of your decisions, decide to be better men, it matters. Until then ladies “Load Up + Stand Up” “Rush 2018” look out for each other. Forward upward onward together

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nobodies_child 2 years, 9 months ago

I’ll suggest appropriate festival ware… a one piece, doesn’t cover much but communicates in a language that translate clearly to the alpha idiots and the short of sense.…A stylish custom fit, ergonomic Holster with the full complement of accessories, Mace, Tasers Metal and Magic U know; (like when you buy a car with all the bells and whistles…..). This may help bridge the comprehension gap, then women will not have browse through their closet and dressers drawers or their moms or grand moms clothing to choosing which garment made of silk or linen will be grope, grab, rape or foolproof…… It will take pressure from all angles to transform this pervasive blame women for …… women being unsafe in the company of men idea. More must be shared but I’ll summarize #Me & U Too from baby girls to mothers who have nurtured many, the global crisis or women safety is more than an extra bit of fabric can fix. Bahamas I beseech you to fall forward fast on this matter of the safety or women and girls, and the action and responsibilities of men. If in our country it is time to encourage the women in our communities who all year long, all lifelong plan to attend the most culturally significant ritual of our young commonwealth, and the public service announcement from our law enforcement sees fit to encourage women girls locals and visitors to darn near consider wearing sleeping bags and hope that tempers the testosterone glitch that makes the men accost their female friends, sisters, daughters and mothers…Ok all your suggesting is she’s ware a few extra yards of fabric that should work, except it don’t work all that well in the middle east and women there mind the laws of god and man regarding how they should dress as well as when and where they come and go. Ladies like diamonds are transform from strangling black coal to crystal clear… By any means ladies Hold Safe Space, while midget mind states clear the dust and embrace, Male Consciousness Evolution…….. Men it is ok to think broader, act better, and to use your words “Man Up” cause if she’s hurt…. we’s hurt…. Men not all men, you know who you are make right your actions there is un forgivable and unforgettable pain as a consequence of your decisions, decide to be better men, it matters. Until then ladies “Load Up + Stand Up” “Rush 2018” look out for each other. Forward upward onward together

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TalRussell 2 years, 9 months ago

Comrade Policeman's with murders in the Bahamaland in 2017 at its record highest level is all you and the Archdeacon James Palacious got talks about is woman's who dress as prostitutes can expect be treated likes prostitutes? Sounds more likes a deflection away from the highest murders?

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 9 months ago

There are too many police officers (and RBDF) who are abusive towards their wives, girlfriends and lovers ........ What is being done to deal with this serious social issue????? What is being done when fellow officers know that their colleagues are beating women black and blue??????

How can the Police issue this PSA to warn about how women dress at Junkanoo, while some of these same Officers are abusive towards their significant others??????

This country thrives on hypocrisy.

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