‘It Is Time Sexual Harassment Ends In Bermuda’

September 7, 2018 | 46 Comments

[Written by Centre Against Abuse Executive Director Laurie Shiell-Smith]

When will we be able to live in a world where sexual harassment is nonexistent?

Sexual harassment is a mindset that believes that it is okay for a person to make sexually inappropriate and obscene remarks and actions with strangers and acquaintances.

The question is would you make these inappropriate statements and gestures to your daughter, mother, grandmother, pastor, or boss; or want someone to be making sexually inappropriate statements and gestures to the cherished ones in your life?

When does one realise that women are not here for their amusement?

Can you imagine a Bermuda where one realises the value of the woman?

Can you imagine a Bermuda where one realises that the disrespect that they display to the unknown and known woman is also being perpetrated upon their own beloved women, by others, and they seek to end it.

Imagine the change in our Bermuda when one realise that we are the problem, and set out to change our behaviours.

Imagine where we hear the voices of the men who would be outraged if someone spoke to their mother, wife or daughter disparagingly, offensively, and unwelcomely.

Bermuda our dirt is showing! And we are tired of sexual harassment being swept under the carpet. We need to clean up our act. We need to firmly unite and say we are tired of this behaviour. We need to address it immediately and directly. No it’s not a joke! Its sexual harassment!

We need to understand the difference between a comment, “that outfit is beautiful”, and sexual harassment, “I like what’s in that beautiful outfit”. We need to consider the difference between a safe touch, which would be a welcomed handshake; and sexual harassment, which would be unwelcomed touches.

We need to manage ourselves, which means to consider our thoughts and actions, “Would I say or do this to my daughter, mother or grandmother? Or would I want this to be said or done to my daughter, mother or grandmother?” If our answer is “no” then we know that our thoughts and actions are inappropriate and they are not a joke.

We need to eliminate those “jokes” from our mindset, and begin the process of being an advocate for change. If you see something inappropriate, speak out about it as boldly as someone who says an inappropriate joke or behaves inappropriately.

Women’s choices in clothing, does not give anyone an invitation to sexually harass them. No more should women have to change their attire to stop the sexual harassment.

It’s time perpetrators of sexual harassment change their mindset. It’s time perpetrators of sexual harassment control their hands and words. It’s time for us to no longer accept sexual harassment as a joke. It is time that sexual harassment ends in Bermuda, and we can start today.

Let it end with us!

- Laurie Shiell-Smith

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Comments (46)

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  1. Mary Lodge says:

    Amen!

  2. Um.... says:

    I guess everyone is going to try and have their moment in the spotlight because of the Minister’s poor taste in humor. But saying something is sexual harassment doesn’t actually mean it is. I won’t tell any woman (or person for that matter) who found it offensive that it wasn’t. But I didn’t because it was not said to the women and it is clear that they did not hear him. Just because a phone held right in front of someone’s mouth picks up the audio doesn’t mean someone 5 feet away from them did. Labeling every offensive thing as sexual harassment will do more harm for times when there is sexual harassment. I hope the Minister weathers this storm, uses this moment to better himself, and uses his position of leadership to better awareness of sexual harassment. But I ultimately hope he does not resign or is removed. He is one of the best minds either party has to offer. And until such time as “better” minds in the public step forward, I hope he stays.

    • This comments is a sobering testimony says:

      of exactly why Bermuda has become the tattered mess she is at the moment.

      We are better than this and we deserve better representation from those holding themselves up as officials of this country.

      Whether the ladies in the shop heard or not–it shouldn’t have been said and broadcast to the world in the first place. A very serious lapse or void of judgement.

      Its O F F E N S I V E and debasing to women.

      • Weed says:

        Awww so sorry you women are so emotional about an off the cuff joke! Get a life!

    • question says:

      You might want to take five minutes and actually read the article.

    • Justin says:

      Exactly what has he done to say he’s got one of the better minds? Still haven’t seen a reduction in crime, still haven’t seen a fintech company employ a Bermudian…

    • wahoo says:

      I think that the girl heard him and ignored him. She should take him to court that would get some headlines. What I really have issue with is how could he be so stupid on so many levels? Stupid and also gross! Would he really drink a mother’s milk?

      He cannot retain the title of Honorable (bestowed upon him by others) with out some sense of fraudulence.

      • Weed says:

        Take him to court for what? You people are so full of $hit!

        • Truth be told says:

          He could have been arrested.

          And did those young girls say it was ok for him to put a video of them all over the internet? Would you allow someone to videotape you or your child and post it all over the internet?

          He’s a pervert. He tried to flirt with these ladies and it failed. He’s not funny. He’s actually quite unintelligent.
          He’s sad.

    • Margaret says:

      So it is okay as long as the person doesn’t actually hear it? NO. It is the behavior and mentality that is abhorrent regardless. Its is only made even worse if the person hears it, but still completely unacceptable.

    • Bolt Action Rifle says:

      Accepting unacceptable behaviour is always unacceptable. When society’s set the bar low the negative consequences can be horrendous and include increased gang violence, robberies, sexual assaults, domestic violence, animal cruelty, speeding & dangerous driving, promiscuity, fighting & assaults etc..

      • Toodle-oo says:

        So it looks like we’ve been setting the bar too low for a long time , eh ?

    • Adrian H-B says:

      Playing devils advocate – just because they didn’t respond to his statement, doesn’t mean they didn’t hear him say what he said. And even if they didn’t hear him directly, he videoed them, made a sexually distasteful comment about women in the same video and then posted it to publicly available social media – assumedly without their consent! Indirectly, he sexually harassed them, as there is no doubt they will have had to see it and have heard what he said in their presence.

    • Me says:

      Harvey Weinstein would love you

    • frank says:

      he is probably in church this morning crying like a baby
      fact people that think evil speak evil

    • frank says:

      people that think evil speak evil

  3. archie says:

    how timely

  4. hmm says:

    Start a protest next time govt tries to get into house of parliament to protest recent events with a certain minister.

  5. Onion_nots says:

    Men get sexually harrassed to you know! I find this post sexist!

  6. Triangle Drifter says:

    A very well timed article.

  7. Swizzle says:

    lol dont eva let some lady tell me to grow some bal*ls im pressing charges

  8. CLEAN UP COLONEL says:

    Good article!

  9. Connected Community says:

    Well written and well said Ms. Shiell-Smith – let us hope this is a teachable moment on the vexing issue of sexual harassment and the complexity of achieving full Diversity and Inclusion in Bermuda.

    When does one realise that women are not here for their amusement? Can we create a test that isn’t dependent on public humiliation and brand damage to Bermuda and share it with our Premier?

    Can you imagine a Bermuda where one realises the value of the woman? Yes – we can begin by calling out inappropriate behaviour each and every time we see it.

  10. facts of the rock says:

    memo to Wayne Cains:-

    read this on your way out and shut the door when you go!

    ‘It Is Time Sexual Harassment Ends In Bermuda’

  11. Really says:

    Im sure the women in Mr. Caine’s heard what he said, the part that is even more inexcusable is the fact that he posted it live. Really, wasn’t he there to talk about sexual misconduct? He has used improper judgment in the past, which has been reported. I’m not sure he is mature eneough to handle his post.Thank you for this well timed article.

  12. True Character says:

    How could anyone see this as humor; the denigration of women. This is what he thinks of women and thinks is humorous! This is how he spends his time travelling on Government business, these are the types of conversations and humor he is engaging in on the taxpayers dime! He is sorry now – well be sorry, really sorry and resign. This behavior has to stop. This government must say “we” the government and people of Bermuda will not tolerate anyone who belittles others. We will not tolerate this from any citizen and especially someone who should be a role model for our young people. Please, do the right thing and resign because you are no longer Honorable!

  13. would it make any difference if he made a racist comment? says:

    I say no- we see from the lack of upset or outrage from the party, that the PLP supporter has no problem with sexist, off colour, or racist remarks-that is why this “bright PLP mind” will stay in his office. The same core “Trump” style populist group that had PLP supporters on the “hill” in Hamilton yelling at anyone who looked a certain way to “go home” (for the world to see) when most they attacked were born Bermudians, is the same group that love the enlightened “new” PLP and all they do- no matter what it is.
    I think our present government would actually show some integrity by requiring a resignation. Isn’t most of the PLP “church going folk”? Is it okay to make lewd or sexually charged comments to anyone? I guess if you represent the PLP- it is.

  14. I and I says:

    Want to end sexual harassment in Bermuda? Stop it at the source from whence it came!

    • Weed says:

      Try getting a life! Sexual harassment in Bermuda is a myth and these trolls are using it to try and bury the man! Give it a rest! All the same people that are emotional about the gays too!

      • Really says:

        You need to get help,that is one sick comment.

      • Cow Polly says:

        And you are one of those people who gets emotional about racism but denies human rights for women and homosexuals.

  15. Lol says:

    Pure nonsense. Anything to try and bring down the PLP. All of this is too far of a reach…not even in Britain they are talking about Caines but bring it here and gotta be a story. What’s so funny is the OBA did worst and none of it was plastered all over the front pages only when you had no choice but to. The fact is the govt is pushing us forward towards being a technology Mecca and this is pure sabatoge. Yes it was distasteful, yea it was a horrible corny joke, but I’m not going to jump on this fake bandwagon of outrage. You are not going to make Caines the face of #MeTooBermuda. The man said he was sorry, the premier dealt with it case close, goodnight.

  16. Me says:

    He needs to step down

  17. Bolt says:

    A massive womens march would really help change our very sick sordid society, but it’s not going to happen because the vast majority of Bermudians see NOTHING AT ALL wrong with Min. Caines almost deviant behaviour! In fact many think it’s funny!

  18. Make a New Plan Stan says:

    I’m thinking that many relationships started from people (both men and women) saying something provocative to someone they were interested in. There are many couples RIGHT NOW reminiscing about some corny line that actually worked on them knowing that if the wrong person said the EXACT SAME THING it wouldn’t have worked.

    How is a person supposed to know what is offensive when one person can be wooed by something that another person is repulsed by?

    I have observed plenty of interactions that could have gone either way……it’s a crap shoot.

    Advice……

    If it offends you say so and mean it. The time for smiling or giggling nervously and letting BS slide has come to an end. People are losing EVERYTHING because there is a lot of confusion out there right now. Something that was OK to say five years ago, five months ago, five minutes ago, is not acceptable RIGHT NOW.

    Let’s try to be honest about this and bear in mind that the source matters A LOT. If the parties are attracted to each other there will be no complaints of harassment BUT if the advance is unwanted all hell can break loose. PROCEED WITH CAUTION because one person’s line that worked and created a loving relationship that lasts a lifetime could be another person’s harassment.

  19. LaVerne says:

    “Women’s choice of clothing does not give anyone ne an invitation to sexually harass them. No more should women have to change their attire to stop sexual harassment”. Does this mean that it should be acceptable for women to wear bikinis to the office? What is appropriate attire for women? That is not to say that the women in the video were inappropriately dressed. Hopefully Mrs. Shilell-Smith can answer my questions.

    • Real Deal says:

      seen the vid of the girl walking up palivill with half of her bumpy hanging of of her shorts?

      • Dawn says:

        She has problems that was clear to see. So how does her situation and Mr. Caines poor judgement relate? She is an addict but he isnt. So whats his excuse??

  20. Real Deal says:

    sorry but this is a job at best.

  21. v smtih says:

    Some men in Bermuda are still in the old mind set, that women are suppose to be in the kitchen and the bedroom. W

    • Real Deal says:

      I will never get with a girl that cant cook point blank.
      so what’s your point. i am looking out for my Children and my blood line.

  22. v smtih says:

    Some men in Bermuda are still in the old mind set, that women are play toys, once they change that way of thinking things will be better.

  23. Me says:

    Bible in one hand preacher mouth but titty milk mind boydontmakemeroar

  24. Imjustsaying says:

    So they better stop giving Hurricanes female names because it’s degrading them. SMH! Good grief give it a rest will you.

  25. SevenT says:

    What a facile and totally inaccurate attempt at deflection from the subject matter being discussed here by Imjustsaying.

    For his/your education…

    In the early days of meteorology in the United States, storms were named with a latitude / longitude designation representing the location where the storm originated. These names were difficult to remember, difficult to communicate and subject to errors.

    During WWII, military meteorologists working in the Pacific began to use women’s names for storms. That naming method made communication so easy that in 1953 it was adopted by the National Hurricane Center for use on storms originating in the Atlantic Ocean. Once this practice started, hurricane names quickly became part of common language, and public awareness of hurricanes increased dramatically.

    In 1978, meteorologists watching storms in the eastern North Pacific began using men’s names for half of the storms. Meteorologists for the Atlantic Ocean began using men’s names in 1979.

    For those of you with short memories how about

    August 21, 2009 – Hurricane Bill
    September 19–20, 2010 – Hurricane Igor
    October 16–17, 2012 – Hurricane Rafael
    September 24, 2016 – Tropical Storm Karl

    to name but a few recent ones?

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