February152013
January82013
“Everybody should be outraged when schoolgirls are sexually harassed in the street and on public transportation, when women are killed by their intimate partners, when police officers turn away rape survivors for being naked, when payments are accepted in lieu of prosecution in cases of child sexual abuse, when our legal system supports this form of injustice, when deputy commissioners of police suggest that teen girls are the ones responsible for the sexual crimes against them. Everybody should be outraged. Not just women. Not just the handful of women parliamentarians. Not just overworked and underfunded women’s organisations. EVERYBODY. And that includes men who for too long have been shamefully silent.”

Rape is a Men’s Issue. 

CODE RED is a feminist collective of Caribbean women and men.  Follow us on twitter and subscribe to our blog.

May232012
May212012

How we ah go mek dis movement move? Reflections from the CatchAFyah Caribbean Feminist Grounding

We’ll be posting a much more serious and sober report later but here are some quick reflections from a few of the Catch a Fire participants.

On Transformation

Day 1 of our Caribbean Feminist Grounding was really (personally) transformative. Something Shifted. Something Changed. And maybe I just needed y’all to remind me *why* and to think together (creatively) through the *how’s*. Thank you sisters for re-igniting the flame! Sistrens, how we ah go mek dis movement move??!?!

On Community

I often wish I lived on a deserted island far away from people. But now, I want to live in a commune with the amazing, fiery, beautiful women of Caribbean Feminists CatchAFyah! So I’m just going to think of the Caribbean as my commune ;P Two quotes from Audre Lorde are resonating as I reflect and return to the work: “Without community there is no liberation, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between an individual and her oppression.” Also- “Revolution is not a one-time event. It is becoming always vigilant for the smallest opportunity to make a genuine change.” We are stronger, more effective together. 1 ♥

On Sisterhood Across Difference

Someone asked me what the other ladies at Catch A Fire were like. I said they were like me! Even though we are certainly very unique individuals, it was great to feel that sisterhood among us. And somewhere within ourselves, we are all feminists who have caught a fyah…

On Privilege

Though not necessarily individually, we were a privileged group. We were funded, had a comfortable meeting space (that was not wheelchair accessible) and among us were many a university degree. That in itself is a disconnect from large numbers of women and men our work seeks support and empower. Even those words, support and empower are problematic… Though raised, the challenge remains, how do we make it different for our next meeting? For our next project(s)? For our work? Class privilege is unwieldy dammit!

I have been in many queer positive spaces in my life. Both in the Caribbean and in North America. This was yet another one of them which was lovely. I have enjoyed straight privilege most of my life however I am mostly read as queer outside of being in a relationship with men. Many womyn in the group identified as lgbtqi and spoke to their experience. However very few (myself included) spoke to their experience of straightness. I greatly appreciated a post my another member who spoke to this silence post-meeting which so beautifully encapsulated how I feel about my own sexuality which makes me simultaneously shy away from labeling myself (b/c it’s so much more complex than any label but also want to identify/name) and speak to the privilege of straightness. (via Add Fyah And Stir. read entire post here.)

On Inspiration

This was [an] amazing 3 days. The insights, spirits, comments and inspiration to go on is willed. The time is now, the opportunity is here. … i just cant stop talking about next step. A fyah was certainly caught in Barbados. GET F’ED UP!!!!!

Thank you SISTAS

On Inter-generational & South-South Learning

The selection of participants I believe indeed contributed greatly to the grounding. The fact that participants presented on issues and assisted with managing the group over the two days. Having Dr. Antrobus and other invited guest from DAWN and Red Thread was also inspiring and added motivation as to why my involvement was one to be proud of.

On Safe Spaces

I loved the women that attended. All so powerful, interesting, and inspiring. The opportunity and space to meet like-minded persons with an interest in changing the status quo. I also deeply appreciated the safeness of the space, I love that women could be open and honest about who they are and without fear. And the food was amazing!


Visit CODE RED for gender justice on wordpress, facebook and twitter to learn more about CatchAFyah.

Connect with us by completing the online sign-up sheet to join the CatchAFyah Caribbean Feminist Network.

May52012
February132012
January132012
“I want to ask our young women, in particular to dress themselves properly. I know that sometimes, their mode of dress is not good at all and it is important that they dress themselves and do not give temptation to our men.”

SVG: Deputy PM tells women to dress properly and not tempt men. She says that women’s breasts are intended to feed children and comfort their husbands. This hetero/sexist drivel was offered in response to the high level of violence against women and girls and femicides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. What do you think of the Deputy PM’s remarks?

CODE RED is a feminist collective of Caribbean women and men. Visit our website for critical Caribbean feminist commentary. Find us on facebook and follow us on twitter.

November302011
“Earlier this month a Trinidadian police officer refused to help a rape victim because she was naked. When asked if he could lend her his raincoat so that she could enter the station to report the rape, he refused. Two good samaritans then took her to her mother’s house where she dressed before returning to the station to report the rape.”

This CODE RED article looks at rape and responses to rape around the Caribbean, showing how misogyny, heterosexism and homophobia are connected.  

CODE RED is a feminist collective of Caribbean women and men. Join us on facebook, twitter or wordpress.

We really want to hear your responses to this article. What do you think?

November122011
Over the last decade, more women have been murdered in St. Vincent than any other country in the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States).Last year, 710 Vincentians sought asylum in Canada, up from only 179 in 2001. SVG ranked 8th in the world for refugee claims to Canada, surpassing India (population 1.2 billion) and Pakistan (population 187 million).
In 2007, SVG had the third-highest rate of reported rapes in the world, according to a UN report. Even Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has been twice accused of sexual assault, once by a policewoman and once by a Toronto lawyer. Both charges have since been withdrawn by the public prosecutor.
And then there’s domestic violence.
It began Oct. 7, 2006, her 14th birthday. The day of her first kiss from a girl. The day she was first raped.
Faith’s sole guardian was her adoptive grandfather. When he caught her kissing her friend, he beat her. Then he raped her. Then he left her with an ominous message: by the time I’m finished with you, you won’t be gay anymore.
After that, Faith was raped and beaten daily, sometimes by her grandfather’s friends.
When Faith reported the initial assault to police, “they told me that I should behave and stop being a ‘batty’ girl,” she says, using a Caribbean slang word for homosexuals.
At 17, Faith ran away.
Excerpted from Toronto newspaper The Star. Click here for the full article and video.
Reading this left me feeling angry, heartbroken and above all powerless to change anything.  I know that change is possible.  What strategies have worked in your countries to end violence against women?
CODE RED is a feminist collective of Caribbean women and men.  Join us.

Over the last decade, more women have been murdered in St. Vincent than any other country in the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States).Last year, 710 Vincentians sought asylum in Canada, up from only 179 in 2001. SVG ranked 8th in the world for refugee claims to Canada, surpassing India (population 1.2 billion) and Pakistan (population 187 million).

In 2007, SVG had the third-highest rate of reported rapes in the world, according to a UN report. Even Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has been twice accused of sexual assault, once by a policewoman and once by a Toronto lawyer. Both charges have since been withdrawn by the public prosecutor.

And then there’s domestic violence.

It began Oct. 7, 2006, her 14th birthday. The day of her first kiss from a girl. The day she was first raped.

Faith’s sole guardian was her adoptive grandfather. When he caught her kissing her friend, he beat her. Then he raped her. Then he left her with an ominous message: by the time I’m finished with you, you won’t be gay anymore.

After that, Faith was raped and beaten daily, sometimes by her grandfather’s friends.

When Faith reported the initial assault to police, “they told me that I should behave and stop being a ‘batty’ girl,” she says, using a Caribbean slang word for homosexuals.

At 17, Faith ran away.

Excerpted from Toronto newspaper The Star. Click here for the full article and video.

Reading this left me feeling angry, heartbroken and above all powerless to change anything.  I know that change is possible.  What strategies have worked in your countries to end violence against women?

CODE RED is a feminist collective of Caribbean women and men.  Join us.

September262011

I first came across Guild of Students take on Caribbean Reasonings when the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation questioned the use of  theme “Iz a Bulla” to advertise a “reasoning” to discuss homosexuality.  Bulla is a derogatory term for a homosexual man though some gay Caribbean men themselves have reclaimed the term.  Of course the theme “Iz a Bulla” is meant to be deliberately provocative in order to get the student body out in their numbers.  But at the same it is also offensive as it uses a term meant to shame and  denigrate homosexual men, discipline all men to heterosexual and patriarchal masculinity; and completely erases women who have sex with women.
Women’s sexuality will, in fact, be dealt with this week.  From the facebook page for the event :

This is the first edition of the new Caribbean Reasonings series where we analyse the views of a “bad ting” which is an insightful look into the views and attitutudes towards female sexuality and women in general.

The poster features a pair of what looks like Victoria’s Secret underwear which while meant for an adult. look like little girls’ underwear and the words “free public access”.  My initial reaction was that while they needed to be provocative in order to get students to turn out, they had stooped a little too low in their advertising.  I found it irresponsible and offensive.
Click here to continue reading…
CODE RED is a feminist collective of Caribbean women and men.  Visit our website to learn more about us.
What do you think of the ad? Offensive or accurate?

I first came across Guild of Students take on Caribbean Reasonings when the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation questioned the use of  theme “Iz a Bulla” to advertise a “reasoning” to discuss homosexuality.  Bulla is a derogatory term for a homosexual man though some gay Caribbean men themselves have reclaimed the term.  Of course the theme “Iz a Bulla” is meant to be deliberately provocative in order to get the student body out in their numbers.  But at the same it is also offensive as it uses a term meant to shame and  denigrate homosexual men, discipline all men to heterosexual and patriarchal masculinity; and completely erases women who have sex with women.

Women’s sexuality will, in fact, be dealt with this week.  From the facebook page for the event :

This is the first edition of the new Caribbean Reasonings series where we analyse the views of a “bad ting” which is an insightful look into the views and attitutudes towards female sexuality and women in general.

The poster features a pair of what looks like Victoria’s Secret underwear which while meant for an adult. look like little girls’ underwear and the words “free public access”.  My initial reaction was that while they needed to be provocative in order to get students to turn out, they had stooped a little too low in their advertising.  I found it irresponsible and offensive.

Click here to continue reading…

CODE RED is a feminist collective of Caribbean women and men.  Visit our website to learn more about us.

What do you think of the ad? Offensive or accurate?

September252011

Rape of elderly women in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados

In St. Vincent & the Grenadines reports of an 83 year-old woman who was raped and killed follow reports of the rape of an 80 year-old stroke-survivor who was raped in Barbados this month. Police in Barbados have arrested a 34 year old man who was released from prison last year after serving a three year sentence for raping an elderly woman.

December102010

Interview with a Toronto human rights lawyer who has accused the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines of sexually assaulting her during a meeting in his island mansion. Youtube commenters are asking whether this is political maneouvering as part of the run-up to elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  This is the latest in a string of allegations which have all been dismissed by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Where is the justice for Caribbean women?

Join us on facebook to continue the conversation.

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