In a strange land

Political Impact Reloaded

Strange things happen in Antigua & Barbuda all the time. The really strange thing about that is that, when strange things happen, most people behave as though there is nothing at all strange about it. One particularly strange case in point is bubbling right now on the public agenda. The latest is the strange case of the young man who, after the alleged painful breakup of an allegedly intimate relationship with a most trusting young woman, allegedly decided to soothe his hurt ego by posting nude photos of his “Ex” on public media.

The key issue, as selected by the prim, hypocritical crowd that occupies the moral high ground in this, our remnant of Victorian Empire, is that the young woman under reference is a member of the revered teaching profession. A social subset subjected to higher standards of conduct than are the norm for the rest of us fallible human beings. The judgmental moralists allege that the young woman’s exposure has tarnished her image to the extent that she must henceforth and forever be deemed unfit to pursue a career as an educator, charged with moulding the tender sensibilities of our nation’s precious children.

Yes! We know – the attitude harks back to those good old days when our islands were proud jewels in the crown of the Empire on Which the Sun Never Set. Those were the days of the Old Time Something, when a petty, prying, restrictive, authoritarian, patriarchal culture imposed restrictions on all women – and especially on young, single women. Those were the really good old days, long before women’s suffrage and even women’s lib. Back in those Victorian times any female teacher reckless enough to “get herself” pregnant outside the “bonds” of holy wedlock would find herself on the breadline quick, fast, and in a hurry … bastard pickney and all. As a matter of fact the poor thing would disappear from in front of her pupils as soon as she started to “show”. Ah … those good old days … when judgmental, moralistic, patriarchal hypocrisy ruled the land! Will they ever go away?

For some people the answer to that rhetorical question is simply “No.” For the benighted ones none of the social changes (call them progress; call them destructive; call them what you will) the world has seen over the past two centuries ever happened, and if they did ought never to have occurred. To cut to the chase: In the eyes of a large and very vocal segment of our community, the victim in this matter is primarily at fault – not for having her private photos made rudely public, but for engaging in the conduct depicted in the images.

That’s right. A major bloc of our ostensibly modern society is unaware that since the middle of the 20th Century a young woman of a certain age, without regard to her marital status or her choice of career, is free to entertain her sexual fantasies, and to indulge those fantasies in private with or without the assistance of a consenting partner. As a result of this mental blind spot the main burden of the public debate is whether or not the wronged young woman should be permitted to continue her work as an educator. Honestly: a lot of people expect the Ministry of Education to “take disciplinary action” against the victim of an alleged criminal act.

Moral double standards and mental blind spots being as common as they are in our tiny two-island state of mind, a lot of people may lack the ethical tools to grasp the naked truth. A young woman has allegedly suffered a huge and unconscionable invasion of privacy perpetrated by a coldhearted ex-lover; and what may be a criminal act has been aided and abetted by a heartless, cruel, morally handicapped social environment where judgmental people take salacious pleasure in further torturing the already brutalised innocent.

The Education Ministry really has no choice but to support the offended young woman to the best of its ability, in tandem with the Teachers’ Union. The real issue is the actual and potential damage caused by the act of invasion, and what options are open to the victim in this matter. The young man in question could do something to repair the emotional and actual damage done by issuing an apology as public as the alleged act of exposure, expressing at least a little remorse, and offering substantial financial compensation as a means of averting legal action. That would only be fair.

Police hold two for questioning over elderly woman’s death

Ramsaran relieved from duties as Health Minister

Add Comment