SVG: Rights lawyer slams police over statement on attire at shelters

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Human rights attorney Zita Barnwell.

At least one human rights lawyer has expressed opposition to the Royal SVG Police Force’s approach to reports of partial nudity in some shelters.

After receiving “numerous reports” from managers in “multiple shelters,” the police issued a statement urging those with objectionable dress codes to “remain humble and dress modest in the shelters [since] Children and people with different characters and backgrounds live in these accommodations. “

Zita Barnwell – a lawyer and former opposition senator – described the testimony to Loop News Caribbean as “evil” and “angry”.

“It shows the level of rape culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. That the Royal St. Vincent and Grenadine Police committed themselves not so long ago to the establishment of a sexual crime department, and here we are sending a strong message with the same organization They suggest women should be held responsible for sexual assault and / or harassment – dress modestly, they say, “she added.

Barnwell added, “When are we going to find that the problem is not women’s clothing – that the problem is the objectification of women by men and their sick inability to control their perverted emotions to a woman’s space and body dominate?

“The police must rush to produce posters and leaflets telling men and women in shelters that all shelters have zero tolerance policies against sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual exploitation.

“A meeting should be held to explain the guidelines and let everyone know how to report incidents. Perhaps this is also an excellent opportunity to teach women self-defense techniques.

“People need to have confidence and confidence that they are in a safe place at a time when they are so vulnerable. We all have a responsibility to ourselves and to our best efforts to mitigate risk. This press release certainly was not the right way to make women and men feel safe and vigilant. “

A shelter manager told Loop News Caribbean that her facility has no problem with anyone’s dress code “because you have to remember that most of these people just grab what they can and go. Some of them have barely brought anything.”

Written by Loop News correspondent JP Schwmon.