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Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett

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Deepening violence against women and young men

Why is it that so many people celebrate violence against women? Why do we define masculinity as a man’s ability to sire children and abuse women? Why do we see it as imperative that men perform violence to control their women?

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How to build a misogynist

In class recently, I was asked why, in my last piece on Sonia Farmer and Shivanee Ramlochan’s work, “The Red Thread Cycle”, I had not offered solutions to the problem of rape, other than to say that policing did not provide the solution. So I have agreed to show how we encourage young men to become misogynists through the way we insist they build a themselves up against a flawed image of what masculinity can or should be.

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Rape is violence, do not be mistaken!

Art instillation explores devastation caused by forced sexual encounters

The lingering impact of violence is long and cross-generational.

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The gender implications of poverty and degradation

We remain locked in a male-empowering, female-disempowering gaze that builds along racial and ethnic lines using stereotypes and particular behaviours as moral and social markers of difference.

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It ain't about the juice

Hidden deep in much of public debate around respectability is the erosion of rights. We like to blame ‘de juice’ for everything and that justifies people being ‘cut off’ for bad behaviour, especially when we can say they be ‘juicin’ in public. We are

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The power to change

We have seen a great deal of violence lately, as well as a large amount of typecasting. We hear about violence and then we hear how much young, black men love violence and how their characters are formed to be violent. This discourse is deeply histor

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Women, men and respectability

We shame people into being who society thinks they should be. Society is more concerned about how someone dresses, than what they do. In fact, we seem to reinforce bad behaviour as long as someone looks respectable. The assumption seems to be that if

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Cultural violence and inequality

The other day, driving along West Bay Street, a young man seemingly got out of a car and slapped a young woman down in the street. People stood around. We were on the main road and the assault occurred on the coastal road. He seemed assured in his ab

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Sexual violence: Changing attitudes and lives

Why do we teach men that it is their right to beat or sexually assault women and teach women that they should expect to be assaulted and/or beaten?I find this belief in my classes regularly, yet we ignore this reality or blame victims. We understand

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Do inequalities promote exploitation?

Today’s piece is really about the images we value, especially the images of media stars and their behavioUr we celebrate. It arises out of recent developments with male leaders in industry who have found themselves compromised between being good men,

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Hard questions which demand answers

University of The Bahamas Northern Campus has hosted its first Sustainable Grand Bahama conference drawing people from many walks of life including the ministry of Tourism, Environment and Bahamas National Trust, as well as private sector agencies and companies.

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In celebrating International Women's Day what are we really cheering for?

As the Bahamas celebrated International Women’s Day last Thursday it is interesting to see that we have so fully embraced the language without the matter.Yes, women have advanced a great deal in the world, and in Bahamian society in general, but at t

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Powerful masculinities

This past weekend, The Island House Film Festival provided a venue for the screening of many Caribbean features and short films. One film was “Cargo” by Kareem Mortimer. A deeply troubling and tragic film, “Cargo” highlights the gender biases so oft

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Silence is violence

Violence is used to silence. Silence is death. Silence is violence. Silence not only destroys any social harmony that could develop between communities, it also destroys the communities and those within them. Silence is not golden!Bahamians teach our

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Eliminating violence against women?

Popular culture provides a plethora of examples of the understanding that women should be beaten, tapped up, gently scolded. Consider the lyrics for the Calypso song “Mighty Sparrow”: Black up their eyes, bruise up their knee and then dey love you e

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Violence or good love? Men, women and promiscuity underpostcolonial nationalism

Is there a difference between violence and good love? The Bahamas remains trapped in the social construct of outdated stereotypes of masculinity and femininity that inflict violence on both men and women. Sadly, we like these stereotypes because they

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Twerking bodies and education: Is this a failure to launch?

Much discussion has ensued after the appearance of a video on social media that apparently captures a “party in the backyard”, only this time it was during the school day, it was in the middle of the school’s quadrangle, and it was almost dismissed b

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Gender and its implications after the winds have died

Irma has gone for good, José is still ruminating somewhere out there in the Atlantic and we still have a number of weeks left in the Atlantic Hurricane Season of 2017. That does not mean that an out-of-season storm could not churn up unexpectedly, however. At the moment we’ve all got our eye on Tropical Storm Maria which may be heading the Bahamas way.

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Changing the outdated model

In the early days of slavery, enslaved Africans were inferior beings; they had no souls so were not human. As science and religion progressed and then slavery ended, a different system of keeping blacks inferior had to be created.The church allowed b

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Eliminating discrimination against women and girls

Over the last few years, the Bahamas has encountered a number of international challenges with regard to discrimination, and especially to discrimination against women and girls.

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Considering the impact of serious and deepening inequality

We seem to be defining the way our society works through a series of inequalities that mean that people, especially young people, are totally excluded from the possibility of success. This kind of social exclusion and inequality is built around class

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Blaming the boys

Why are these boys behaving so badly? What’s wrong with our boys? What is the problem with the young men in our community? What happen to these boys?Over the last few days especially, these are questions that have been raised on the radio and televis

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The potential for change

In the week after the resounding change in national direction engendered by the general election it is important to take stock of where we are and where we want to see ourselves go, and to see how best we can get there.

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Violence, disempowerment and inequality

We have witnessed yet another act of awful violence against women captured on camera and then posted to social media without so much as a thought for what this says about the society we live in.

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Irresponsible masculinity

We have taken to referring to most young men as being violent, and a threat to national security.

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Rethinking violence and gender

As violence continues to engulf the community, we seem loathe to begin to think outside the box.

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Staging gender: The trouble with stereotypes

As a nation we seem to be determined to deny ourselves the best of what we offer others.

Dialing it back

There has been so much talk about turning things back to the way they were. This will eliminate all the violence of young men killing each other. Sadly, it won’t, and it can’t be done.

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Gangs, violence and inequality discussed again, and again, and again

For the past few weeks this column has dedicated a great deal of focus to gangs and gang violence because it is such a serious national and international problem.

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Overbreeding or breaking the cycle?

Close ya legs! Stop layin down with man! As a society, we have been charging that blacks overbreed, but it would be a more accurate statement to say that low-income and poorly educated groups are more likely to have more children than higher-income groups with a higher level education.

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Women who chose to lead

According to many, women should know their place - and that is not to be in the public sphere. They must be submissive and allow men to be men.

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DR IAN BETHELL-BENNETT: A time to speak – Trumpism in the Bahamas

IF it is the case that the Bahamas feels the influence of Donald Trump and that many Bahamians hold similar views to his, we need to speak to our boys.

Gender-based violence: Is it really a crime?

As a culture and a country we have come to a place where we boast about how much we can beat people. We especially like beating children – “spare the rod and spoil the child.”

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Cog formation: failure or success?

The production of units of labour has become a norm in the 21st century late-capitalist reality of free market expansion where the market will control itself.

Talking about gangs and social breakdown

This piece is derived from extensive research around gang violence, civil society participation and systemic failure. It points to some obvious problems that so far, have been ignored and thus the problem has been allowed if not encouraged to grow.

Culture and gender

Gender, the way it is defined and lived, and gendered relations are usually determined by culture. As research shows us, the way we live in a place usually relates to the environment and the history, as well as the economics and geography of the place.

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The culture of homes with no income

Let’s talk about the culture of homes with no income, only an unemployed mother, no father but many baby daddies

Sterilisation, birth control, violence and gender inequality: Are these related?

Progress is often sold as a package that takes something from someone else.

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Cultural violence and gender

Blue waters, pristine beaches, wonderful hotels and violence is the image of the Bahamas splattered across many tabloids, and the warnings issued by nations to protect their citizens from falling victim to the violence resident in the Bahamas.

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According to the state, our sons are criminals. Our daughters are not mentioned, but our sons are being made criminals because we give them everything they want and we do not supervise them.

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DR IAN BETHELL-BENNETT: Father’s Day in the Bahamas

The island seemed to stop on Sunday to celebrate Father’s Day. But what are we really celebrating? Are we celebrating the kind of fatherhood that is taught in society where young men are encouraged to reproduce themselves without thought of maintaining or supporting woman, child or brood?

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The gender equality referendum failed

As violence in our society explodes – three more have been murdered in less then 48 hours – it seems that we are content to allow people to be murdered based on their social standing.

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No inequalities?

According to some, there are no inequalities in the way we live today. They claim that we are all equal and we are all treated the same. Yet we seem to have a breakdown in understanding. All citizens are not treated the same in law nor in custom. It is absolutely dishonest to say that there are no inequalities.

Role modelling

We inhabit a place that does not easily fit with ascribed roles, though many impose all the weight of Western constructs and constrictions on the behaviour of Bahamians.

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Thuggery and national development: No 'sissy' allowed

As times change, people get frightened and provoke fear in others. When the slave master saw a threat of change, he reacted violently by beating it down, so he survived to rule another day.

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There go I but for the grace of God

We seem to have an understanding of submission as something ultimate and complete; that men are completely in charge of women and must rule over them with an iron fist.

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Thinking about our daughters

I recently presented at a workshop where 18 of us shared our goals and vision for our future health.

Family violence: What is the role we play?

Research shows that children who grow up in dysfunctional homes are more likely to be violent and to have problems with addiction.

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Can we talk about gender equality?

The country seems to be hitting a stride as once again last week another video appeared on Facebook and Whatsapp of a young girl being beaten, this time with a shower curtain rod. We have been debating at length the need for a policy on gender as well as the need to create equality between men and women.

Violence, women and men

In the Interamerican Bank’s Quarterly Bulletin “Crime in Paradise”, released this year, we in the Bahamas rank as one of the most violently criminal in the world and extremely high levels of the fear that evokes.

A new brand of masculinity?

We have stepped into a period in our history where almost everything we do is known shortly after doing it.

If you want to see violence, come to . . .

As we are flanked on all sides by dire straights, the soaring violence is not surprising. As the economy worsens, prices are raised by an unaware government and jobs disappear people react with anger and fear.

We are moving ahead

Last week was historical in the Bahamas. Parliament voted on creating a more equitable Constitution that allows women and men to pass on their citizenship equally.

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A culture of violence and inequality

Is this a culture of violence and inequality or a culture based on misogyny and misinterpreted and misunderstood biblical ethos?

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#Support the Puff

In a country where women make up over 50 per cent of the population, where women are the primary breadwinners in many households, where more women than men graduate from high school and college – the latter at an astounding 8:2 ratio on the extremely conservative side – women are amazingly silent.

Unacceptable black beauty

We live in fear of not being white enough, not being pretty enough, not being rich enough, not being skinny enough. We are now perhaps the most bleached, mentally colonised, self-hating country in the region.

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Men need to learn, but society is not responsible

I keep hearing well-meaning people say that boys and young men need to learn how to be better people. They need to learn how not to be angry, how not to kill, how not to steal and rape.

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Blackness and the unbeauty

We often talk about beauty as if it were an unnatural thing that has a particular commercial value. We tend to measure women against this unnatural, commercially-valued beauty. If they do not measure up, as no woman can naturally, according to the media, then she is an unbeautiful and socially unacceptable, especially among the youth who wear this badge as if it were their life.

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State violence and rape: where we seem to be today

This piece is in response to an awful outbreak of sexual violence and exploitation that the state claims is the fault of the people. The people struggle under the yoke of the state’s exploitation and the anger and violence they feel explodes in ways that show domination and power. Sexual violence is one of the leading expressions of the underclass’s need to dominate and release its anger and rage.

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Violence and inequality: Is there any hope for Bahamian women’s legal equality?

The violence of the last few days has really made a statement about where the country is. It has also shown the intention of many to continue down this road of serious crime and wanton violence and killing.

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Bad behaviour and its consequences

We have had a spate of violent acts. We have also had a spate of acts of public bad behaviour.

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DR IAN BETHELL-BENNETT: Men as victims and perpetrators of violence

Violence is pervasive - especially so when we encourage it.

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Finding our voice for the national discourse

Our silence to abuse and inequality is amazing, yet we choose to speak up when we see that someone is being ‘abused’ if that somebody is related to us.

Building inequality

Over the last week we have been assaulted by violence. Politicians have taken the time to comment on the declining crime rate and to berate the public for talking about records in the number of people who have been murdered this year.

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Damaged men

We are being led by a system of hypermasculine men who see it as their right to steal, plunder, rape, pillage and murder through their class privilege, lies and deceit.

Woman shaming

Given the inability of women in the Bahamas to receive equal rights despite all the legal international obligations the government has committed itself to, society seems to think it OK to treat women worse than they treat Potcakes.

Violence against girls - What does it do?

The Bahamas boasts an environment that is kind and a people that are friendly. People want to come and visit here, although we have far fewer stay over visitors than we did 20 years ago, and those are the people who leave money in the local economy.

Gendered norms without updated expectations and skills

MANY Bahamians argue that men must be men; they must earn more than their wives or partners, they must be educated and they must be good providers.

Are young men really failing or is it more complicated than that?

AS the dust settles from the beginning of the new academic year that hasn’t really begun yet, but should have, and as the results talk is pretty much done, it seems an opportune moment to discuss the failure of many of our students to perform adequately.

Dr Ian Bethell-Bennett: Thuggery and leadership: following a great example?

CLASS and gender are always caught up in a myriad of power imbalances. We tend though to look at these in very simplistic ways.

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The name ‘father’ or the role of father?

FATHER’S Day has come and gone again and such discourse about celebrating our strong fathers did surround it. We still seem to be locked in a culture of patriarchy and misogyny without thinking about real paternity. We know that we like to be called ‘Daddy’ and we celebrate men that sire children around the place as if they were sharing rice. Culturally though, we do not celebrate them being involved in their children’s lives.

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Considering race/ethnicity and gender today

IN THE wake of the recent church shootings in South Carolina, race is certainly on the radar. The apparent thinking is that the world has moved beyond racism and the inequality that race is used to reinforce.

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DR IAN BETHELL BENNETT: Gang violence in the Bahamas

OVER the last few months we have heard countless stories about young men from Step Street stealing, shooting, getting shot and being killed.

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DR IAN BETHEL BENNET: Our citizenship is not for sale

SUCH insightful statements descend from the House of Assembly! According to parliamentarians, women will sell their citizenship. So, how do the women in Parliament feel about being Jezebels who know no control over their minds or their bodies?

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Are our daughters safe walking the streets?

Driving along Boyd Road the other day, the vehicle in front of me came to an almost complete stop.


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