Not getting enough cat calls in your life lately ladies? Come one down to Grenada and take a walk down Mont Tout Road. You will get your fill and more of those “hey sexy!” exclamations.
If you think I am exaggerating, I’m not. It’s a serious problem for women here. The topic made the local talk radio show today and the conversation turned feisty.
The male host, a guy named Kevin, argued that those sometimes sexually-charged exclamations were his right to utter. He played the “Free Speech” card.
“Whether or not it is sexual is dependent on my mood,” he said to a woman co-host. “Can you regulate mood? I mean, what if I am in a jolly good mood and walking down the street and I want to share my joy with the people I meet. I say, ‘that dress is fitting you nice, lady you lookin’ like Beyonce today.’ That’s my free speech.”
You could hear the woman’s face turn red. She didn’t quite care what his intentions were.
“But there has got to be some recourse, some law, for women who are constantly bombarded with these unwanted sexual advances,” she pleaded.
Grenada has no sexual harassment laws. Neither of those words appear in the nation’s 110 page constitution. Catcalling isn’t a crime. Culturally, it’s a compliment.
The man further argued that having laws that would penalize people for calling out “compliments” in the street would have a chilling effect on free speech.
Would you feel sexually harassed if you were walking to the corner grocery store and a man yelled after you, “Hey lady you lookin’ fine today!” Now let’s add the race element to the conversation. Say you were a white woman and the man was black. Does that change much?
Frankly, I could do with a fewer “compliments”. What do you think the Grenadian government should do about all this? How do you define sexual harassment for a people who believe catcalling is appropriate and complimentary?