A Walk in Kingstown
For those of you unaware, I recently completed my bachelor’s degree and I’m back home in St Vincent after living in Barbados for three years.
As such, I have been in Kingstown regularly running errands and going about my business. Each time I leave home I become acutely aware of the differences between Barbados and St Vincent.
The most noticeable difference being the cleanliness of Bridgetown compared to Kingstown. Whether you are willing to admit it or not, Kingstown is dirty, and it smells. The capital of a country is its most central location, it is a representation of who we are.
If our capital smells and looks dirty, what does that say about us as a people? I am not here to place blame or degrade my country, however, the truth cannot be denied; Kingstown is a poor representation of St Vincent.
Many Vincentians believe that to criticize your country means you are ungrateful or that you are unpatriotic.
However, how can you justify such thinking? Identifying our weaknesses and shortcomings shows that we are willing to improve our country, and there will always be room for improvement. No country is perfect, I know that, but the capital has so much potential.
Unfortunately, if we are unwilling to identify its faults then it will never be as great as it could be.
These are the thoughts that cloud my mind as I walk through Kingstown, minding my own business until I hear a sound. “Psst! Aye gyal you look good”.
I keep my head down and I ignore the man. Unfortunately, the pestering continues every street I walk. The street harassment continues from various men, some trying to strike up conversations while others boldly comment on my body.
I ignore them all and keep my head low. Truthfully, I was never scared.
I simply felt disgusted that these men implored such crude methods to garner my attention, did they think it would actually work, or do they simply enjoy being plagues? Catcalling is something I’ve experienced since I was in primary school unfortunately.
However, I am still disturbed by the practice and frankly I find it uncivilized behaviour. It is street harassment and it makes women and little girls uncomfortable.
Recently, France made catcalling a finable offence; because even in developed countries men still behave like pigs.
Catcalling is something most women find uncomfortable, yet the men who do it are never admonished.
A sexist person might ask why women don’t take a stand and I’m here to tell you, we don’t because it’s dangerous. Men are dangerous.
Confronting men often leads to violence and insults and most women can’t be bothered with the hassle, so we just continue to ignore them. I wish more men would hold each other accountable for their disgusting behaviour.
I wish more parents would teach their sons how to respectfully approach women. I wish for a lot of things.
I hope that with my writing I bring attention to the things we often ignore and unfairly tolerate. Perhaps one day change will come, but first we must take a stance.