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By Helena R. Edwards

We all hear the rumours about politicians in St Vincent and the Grenadines requiring women and young girls to trade sex for favours. These allegations are not new to the Vincentian society. Some individuals may prefer to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that these things are not going on, but the truth is, if you are a woman and you live in the Caribbean, it’s more likely than not that you have been sexually violated by a fella in a position of power.

A position of power doesn’t automatically equate to a man who is in leadership or has political power. It can be as simple as the average van driver who has the power to offer a young lady a free ride in exchange for entrance into her vagina. St. Vincent is not unique in this way. There are many countries throughout the world where women lack power and as a means of survival they are forced to use their vaginas.

The situation for women in St Vincent and the Grenadines has been more pronounced than some other islands with more economic power. A bigger economic pie will result in a greater chance of women benefiting. As a former British colony that can only boast of land and sea as resources, St Vincent and the Grenadines is at a greater disadvantage for economic failure. Without capital, it’s difficult to develop and market these commodities (land and sea) to attract foreign tourists with money. Countries like Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago have a greater advantage in marketing themselves to the world. St. Vincent has to compete with these more developed Caribbean nations for tourist dollars and without the amenities to attract tourists, the economy remains greatly underdeveloped.

Traditionally, men have been in control of power throughout the world. They still very much run things, although in more developed countries women are having a greater role and voice in leadership positions. As women’s economic power increases in these developed countries, so too is their social and political power. In St Vincent and the Grenadines, social and political powers seem to be impossible feats for women who lack fundamental economic power.

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Historically, Vincentian parents invested in their male children. An investment in a male child was deemed a safer investment than in a girl child. You see, a boy can’t get pregnant, but a girl can. Many Vincentian parents who invested in their girl children by way of an education have lost their investments when these girls became pregnant in high school and had to terminate their education. The boys who fathered these girls’ children were allowed to continue their education while these girls’ futures along with their parents’ investments went up in smoke.

Thus, the boy child became a safer and more valued investment for poor parents. In addition, boys carry on their fathers’ surname and family legacies, so they became much more important to the family as a whole. A wife who couldn’t give her husband a son was looked upon as a sort of failure. Thus, women within the society became a sort of de facto second-class citizens who were conditioned to be servants to men either as wives, in the case of “the good” women or “whores” (the bad women) simply to be used for a man sexual pleasures.

We can see this “good woman” versus “bad woman” duality being played out in Vincentian society whereby men will choose the “virgin-like” women as their wives while they engage in behaviours that reform innocent girls from poor economic backgrounds into cultural prostitutes. These poor girls live in a materialistic society where self-esteem hinges on items such as fashionable clothing, cell phones, social associations, etc., etc. They have the ambition to achieve these things so that they can feel important within the society. The men within the society who control these means, exploit these young girls sexually as a result.

Without the economic power to become self-reliant, women lack the ability to fight back. Women are in competition with one another for the ability to survive economically. There will always be a woman who is willing to suck a man’s dick for a job, a scholarship, a cell phone or some other material gain. Therefore, the women within the society are at a gross disadvantage. The men know this and they are not willing to reform their behaviour. They seem to relish the power to be able to have this power over women.

All women within the society, even the most educated, is at this disadvantage. An educated woman who needs a job has to suffer the same indignities as an uneducated woman who might simply need food. Thus, women at all levels of the society are voiceless. If they speak out, they risk becoming economic suicide victims. To change this generational exploitation of women, it will require men to take a strong stance against the exploitation of women and punish those men who exploit women. These men are going to have to envision all Vincentian women as their mothers, sisters, daughters, etc., and commit themselves to fight for the liberation of women. It requires a selfless commitment for which men will be prepared to die. How many Vincentian men are willing to take this challenge? Remember, when you sexually exploit someone else’s daughter, another fella will do exactly the same thing to your daughter. Fellas, can you live with that!

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

9 replies on “Sexual exploitation of Vincentian women”

  1. Very well-written and sadly it all seems to be true. Anyone who is living in or has lived in Saint Vincent knows this.It is unfortunately a part of our culture, and changing this attitude will be difficult and take many years.

  2. A very good read but this piece I pulled from your post to highlight.”These poor girls live in a materialistic society where self-esteem hinges on items such as fashionable clothing, cell phones, social associations, etc., etc. They have the ambition to achieve these things so that they can feel important within the society. The men within the society who control these means, exploit these young girls sexually as a result.”
    Here the blame must be split among both parties, gone are the day when a school boy can preach to his friends about his GIRLFRIEND in school. Why, because school boy can’t give them the materialistic thing they desire so they turn to the MONSTERS who sit and wait in silence to pray upon they vulnerable girls.
    Most of these girls even women sell themselves short, they draw the wild card some get luck some don’t. They will be lucky if they don’t get the life sentence instead of the material they went after.

  3. In the past this lady has supported Ralph and appeared to fight his side regarding accusations of sexual assault.

    1. Thanks Jolly Green. I certainly appreciate your comments. You certainly know what is going on. Maybe the constant “rot” that the Gonsalves family contributes to SVG has finally hit a note with the author after the recent scandal with the young lady. I personally am less concerned with what did or did not happen between two consenting adults, than I am with how the “royals” seem have the ability to bend the system for their own pleasure or benefit while the rest of us certainly cannot. It is absolutely frightening and maybe it is done on purpose so that all us slaves know our place.

  4. A simplistic and poorly articulated analysis of a very complex social issue that ignores the strength and resilience of thousands of our womenfolk, that seems ignorant of the educational and economic gains women have made over the past two generations, that shows no understanding of the fact that women have always been household and neighbourhood leaders and role models, that ignores the elementary fact that there are thousands of deadbeat men across the land who have power neither over women nor themselves, and that denies the basic agency — control over their bodies and minds — that women have always had in our society.

    Still, what else can we expect than fake sociology from an airhead who believes that the Jews controlled the slave trade.

    1. All true C.ben. You have a great understanding of how it is in SVG. I have never seen any evidence about jews involved in the slave trade although they have been involved in many other problems in our world, but so have Christians. However, I think the article is very informative, although yes, simplistic. It has caused me to see our society in a different light but at the same time include your input.

  5. Helena, I am a young professional who grew up in an impoverished part of SVG and I will say quite unequivocally, SPEAK FOR YOURSELF! Life is all about choices and instead of becoming a stereotype, I decided to make a difference in my community and then my country. I do not know where you get your statistics from, if at all you had any but this article speaks to some personal gripe that we have in society.

    If one wants to be objective, speak about this issue holistically. Women are not the only victims. You padded your story in so much fluff that if one wasnt able to analyze your rants, they would surely agree. However, I dont blame you. You have an agenda. Carry on….

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