PHOTOS: CODE RED Women’s Circles

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The members of CODE RED for Gender Justice at the UWI Cave Hill Campus have been hosting weekly women’s circles (on and off campus) from October 2013. The circles provide a safe space for women [of all sexual orientations] to have heart to heart discussions on intimate topics such as relationships, love, and family, as well as current gender issues. The members also use tools, such as the peace line activity, to encourage introspection at the circles.

Women have shared tears, laughter, fears, secrets, and love at these circles. Guided by rules to ensure everyone feels respected and receives a chance to be heard, all members that attend enjoy the moments shared in the spaces. Members have used the following words to describe the circles: “Enlightening, empowering, safe, inclusive, comforting and important.”

If you are a woman attending UWI Cave Hill Campus or residing in Barbados and would feel comfortable sharing a space with women of all different sexual orientations, we encourage you to join our circles. Contact damarlieantoine [at] gmail [dot] com, or m.hutchinson1988 [at] @gmail [dot] com to be added to the mailing list. 

Below are some photos from our activities:Image

 

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Images: Uses of the Erotic Poetry Workshop with Dorothea Smartt

Images: Uses of the Erotic Poetry Workshop with Dorothea Smartt

Click photo for more images & details. All images by Michelle Springer.

Uses of the Erotic: Poetry Workshop with Dorothea Smartt

At CODE RED for gender justice! we’re excited to work with the National Cultural Foundation to host this creative writing workshop with Dorothea Smartt!

It takes place this Saturday, July 27  from 2-5pm in the buildin in the former #1 Harrion’s on Broad Street which houses the Crop Over Visual Arts Gallery. It’s for intermediate and advanced poets who are at least 18 years of age. Spaces are limited so please apply NOW!

The erotic is a measure between our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves.

Red Round-up

We post almost-daily updates of Caribbean news and commentary on issues related to gender, sexuality, Caribbean development and environment on facebook.  Facebook now requires that you pay to promote individual posts which makes the awareness-building, consciousness-raising work we do online a little more difficult since our annual budget is 0.  We’ve watched our page views fall after this policy was implemented. That just means we’ve gotta do more red-round-ups where we highlight key stories and happenings in the region.  So here goes:

Homophobic Violence at Jamaican University

Viral video of security guard in homophobic attack against Jamaica University of Technology students . J-Flag has responded to offer support to the young men who were victimised and have condemned the violence as “evidence of the malignant level of homophobia, which continues to pervade all levels of Jamaican society and ravage lives.”

1.8M Haitians affected by Hurricane Sandy

The United Nations reports that 1.8 million people have been affected by Hurricane Sandy in Haiti. Food security has been severely affected with up to two million people at risk of malnutrition.

T&T Police Tell Women Not to Get Raped

Women who exercise on Lady Chancellor Hill in Trinidad & Tobago have been advised by police to exercise caution in order to avoid rape.

CODE RED Builds Caribbean feminist online database

CODE RED is building a digital archive of Caribbean feminist online spaces. Contribute by telling us about your favourite Caribbean feminist blogs, forums, groups, pages etc.

T&T Community College Blazes Trail by offering Daycare on Campus

YAY! Here’s to other Caribbean colleges and universities following their lead!

Video: Young feminist activist from Trinidad & Tobago, Stephanie Leitch, talks about feminism in the Caribbean.

How awesome is it to know that feminism is alive and well in the region.

Barbados Launches Child Support Fund

Barbados government to provide $50 per week (USD$25) for children whose fathers have been ordered to pay child support but who have not. Fathers who are primary caregivers will also be able to apply to the fund. The Maintenance Act will also be amended to ensure that fathers could apply for child maintenance at the Magistrates’ Court (at present only mothers can apply for maintenance at the Magistrates Court).

Suggest a link to us by leaving a comment!

A Week of CODE RED Reads: Housecleaning PMs, Rape as mounting, Caribbean LGBT Activism, Climate Justice and Abortions for Successful Living

Just a look at what we’ve been reading and talking about this week. Remember to email us at redforgender [at] gmail [dot] com to find out how you can involved with us offline.  We are looking for some Barbados-based volunteers to work on exciting projects.

LGBT Rights Activism
VIDEO: Caribbean LGBT activist voices among the strongest in the region right now. T&T-based CAISO and St. Lucian United & Strong among other organisations participating in international dialogue and human rights training taking place in St. Lucia.

VIDEO: “I am a Belizean.” Belize leads the Caribbean on pro-LGBT rights activism. This public service announcement aims to promote tolerance in a society where homophobia is widely practiced. We Are One! In dignity and rights.

Human Rights in Guyana
Guyanese in Barbados to protest against human rights abuses in their homeland.

Misopolis Abortion Rights Campaign
Some of our facebook fans believe that the “Misopolis: Abortions for successful living campaign” misses the mark. It spoofs a Diesel ad campaign in order “to expose the violations of women’s rights that take place in the garment industry”? The hoax was devised by Women on Waves and Women on Web, both non-profit organizations concerned with women’s human rights and specifically with access to safe medical abortion.

One person wrote:

Not a fan of this one at all. Feel it misses the mark and treats the issue a little too glibly. Eye catching for sure though.

One CODE RED member responded:

Back in 2008 ECKO had a “hot girls make great clothes” campaign which featured models pretending to do the sewing, stiching, dyeing, packing etc it takes to manufacture jeans. Each model-as-garment-factory-worker had a persona and customers were encouraged to leave messages for her. And leave messages they did—obscene, sexist, objectifying and CRASS. When I first saw the Misopolis campaign it felt like a spoof of the ECKO campaign. Their website says its a hoax of a diesel campaign. I too feel that the campaign misses the mark. What was ridiculous about the ECKO campaign was that it continued to hide the real faces of factory labor. I think the Women on Waves spoof does the same thing. Garment factory labour remains invisible. I agree with you that the way they deal with abortion also seems too superficial. And too much presented as some form of consumer choice rather than as a woman’s right. Considering how strong the anti-abortion push is globally I worry that such glib treatment will actually undermine what Women in Waves and Women on Web stand for—women’s human rights and access to safe medical abortion.

Gender Insensitive Caribbean Media
Caribbean reporting on violence against women still leave a lot to be desired:
The Demerara Waves report includes statements such as “mounting her”, “feigning pleasure” and graphic details of the alleged assault. The report also states that the complainant said that she would have killed the rapist had she gotten the chance. It also raises the question of why she failed to report the rape immediately. The accused is the Commissioner of Police in Guyana and he has not been charged. Many of the persons commenting on the story say they think the rape accusation is false.  CODE RED reached out to Demerara Waves via twitter but has  not yet received a response.

Climate Justice
Caribbean people are at the forefront of the movement calling for climate change action and climate justice: “What was it that made the critical difference? It was the voice of the Caribbean, and particularly [Grenadian Foreign Minister] Karl Hood’s intervention. But Karl Hood’s intervention was kind of on the shoulders of a really sustained effort on the part of some Caribbean leaders, like former President Jagdeo of Guyana, of people and institutions like the Climate Change Coordinating Centre in Belize – for example, and all of that effort came to a kind of crescendo that night.”

Gender and Politics
The fact that Jamaica now has its first elected female Prime Minister continues to provoke sexist and quite frankly, bizarre comments.  JLP described PM Portia Simpson Miller’s decision to appoint three women to the Cabinet as ‘jobs for the girls’. Three woman cabinet members dismissed as illegitimate, unnecessarily costly excess baggage just because they are women, no, girls! Jamaican scholar Carolyn Cooper breaks down the sexism and old boys’ network logic behind these comments.

Following quickly on the heels of the JLP, Jamaica’s Foreign Minister says “You won’t get away with a woman presiding over a dirty country.”  He argued that visitors to the island may be willing to put up with a dirty JA if the PM is male but with a woman at the helm, the country better be clean, if nothing else. Right, because women, even women PMs are naturally more suited to cleaning. And even if they are not naturally suited to it, it’s their job.

Just a quick look at what we’ve been talking about. Have your say in the comments below and join us online and off!

REDtalk: Come talk to us!

 

CODE RED will be hosting REDtalk: a series of conversations aimed at bringing together people new to feminism and activism in the region.  The intention is to create a regional programme of action for 2012:

  • Tell us what you think are the key issues.
  • Help us define and plan activities to take place nationally and regionally.
  • Volunteer for fundraising and mobilising.
  • Or simply tell us about what you’ve been doing in your own communities already.

Far from feminism being outdated there are a lot of new faces across the region committed to lending feminist voices to issues of gender, environmental, economic and social justice.  REDtalk seeks to bring together these new voices to form a powerful force for activism, advocacy and lobbying in the region.  Many of you have been working hard in your own communities and it would be great for all of us across the region to meet and share experiences.

Email us at redforgender [at] gmail [dot] com for more information or to participate. Please include your SKYPE ID in your email.

 

What’s in a name?

I felt very frustrated yesterday when someone told me that to say “violence against women” is discriminatory, that it should be called “relationship violence”.  I tried to point out that intimate partner violence is only one kind of violence against women.  There are a range of gendered ways in which women are targeted for violence, not all of which are “domestic”.  Erasing the language feminists have invented to describe the harms women disproportionately face is an attempt at silencing women.

I recognise that some kinds of feminism render women as innocent, always already victims and men as always already abusers.  Reality, of course, is much more complex.  Women are not innocent.  Women are not victims.  Men are not invulnerable to violence from other men and yes, from women.  Many feminists are naming as gendered-based violence men’s violence towards each other.  The kind of violence which makes many boys afraid to go to school, which causes many of them to arm themselves and which claims the lives of many, many young Caribbean men.

Gender ideologies structure the lives of both women and men.  Men and women produce and reproduce gender in their everyday lives.  Both women and men therefore have a stake in ending unequal and harmful relations of gender.

WomenSpeak is running a series of profiles to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Violence Against Women.  CODE RED got in on the action with a quick interview with one of Barbados’ feminist activists.  In Barbados, murders of women by their male intimate partners typically account for nearly half of all murders.

Have a look…