Cayman’s sexual harassment problem

| 06/12/2011

As US Republican primary candidate Herman Cain stumbles and struggles under the weight of various sexual harassment charges from his past, Caymanians should refrain from chuckling and instead ask themselves why it is that Cayman never has any similar scandals involving our politicians.

These events become public spectacles on a regular basis not only in America but also in European countries as well. Meanwhile, we seem to be immune from the problem of men in power acting inappropriately toward women. Based on news coverage and court cases, one would think that our elected politicians and top civil servants are somehow above such behavior. Are they?

Of course Cayman has its fair share of predatory and disgusting creeps in positions of power! Only a fool would think otherwise. It is invisibility, not immunity, which explains the absence of sexual harassment charges scandalizing our top government officials on a regular basis. Such deeds go unpunished and unreported, but they do happen here.  We just don’t see these activities come to light in the news media or in the legal system because Cayman has a tradition of deferring to the powerful on such matters. Short of rape, one wonders what a powerful politician in this country would have to do to be condemned by society and run out of office.

For decades, it has been common knowledge that some of our most prominent leaders have behaved like unrestrained sex fiends during working hours. If only a small percentage of the whispers are true, it means many significant men in elected posts and appointed positions are constantly flirting with and propositioning women who find themselves uncomfortably under their spheres of influence and power. Ask any ten female civil servants what it’s like to work in a government office and it’s likely that more than half will share horror stories about unwanted advances from men who possess far more power and confidence than maturity and decency.

It is clear what needs to happen in the Cayman Islands. Some victims, or perhaps just one with apowerful case to make, must come forward and raise hell about the behavior of one of these men who habitually attempt to leverage their political power for sex through favors or coercion. This is easier said than done, of course. It would not be easy for the woman. Backward-thinking people tend to leap right past the offender’s possible guilt and instead question the victim’s motives and character. If just one prominent figure was brought down, however, Cayman would move further down the road of progress and all of society would benefit. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.

Note: Victims of workplace sexual harassment in the Cayman Islands are encouraged to describe their stories in the comments below. Please do not name names or give any identifying details in this forum, however. If you do feel that you have suffered sexual harassment in the private sector or in government, consider consulting with a lawyer to find out what your options are in seeking justice.

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (35)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Surely this position of the mother country is a more relevant topic for discussion (see link for details). Why is it reported on CNS?

    http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Forward-ever_10379614

  2. Anonymous says:

    When are you all going to realise that this is not the USA.

    • Yo Mama says:

      You are absolutely clueless if you think there is no sexual harrassment problem in the workplace here. Just because it's hushed up like so many other negative things in Cayman doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good point.

      Why has SH only been prevalent in USA and there is nothing similar in Europe?

  3. Anonymous says:

    When Fidel Castro heard about Slick Willy’s scandal with Monica he said ‘this will never happen in the Caribbean because when a man has plenty women he is even more popular’. LOL ROFL

    There are some women in the workplace who are worse than men, and they only wait for the latest young thing to be recruited married or not.

    Let’s not blame it all on men!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately your article and the society suggests that this is a one way street.
    Women are often suggestive and provocative and are the initiators in many ways. If many of them were true profeesiionals they would dress more appropriate for work.

    This is nothing new, and they do lead men on in many ways then it is SH.

    There are women predators too, but they call it flirting.

    • Anonymous says:

      From the Bible, who led Adam astray and introduced him to the forbidden fruit?

      And therefore who is responsible for the original Sin ?

      Always remember it takes two to Tango, and WO MAN not MAN play their part too.

      WO to man if men fail to understand that.

  5. Anonymous says:

    While I wasn’t subject to Cayman Island workplace sexual harassment as a young21 year old female while on Island on work permit,, I was subject to sexual harassment by a male in a position of high power. Though he was not my employer he also threatened my job, reputation, my dignity and my work permit at that time. Due to his position of power it seemed to be within the realm of possibility that he could affect change related to my in good standing work permit. The sexual harrassment I was subject to was initially uncomfortable progressing to frightening me.. After much deliberation, being a 21 year old female far from my home at that time, I filed a formal complaint, which was further investigated, and subsequently then escalated. in the end this man received suspension from position, and I received a letter from Her Magesty the Queens office with official seal, an apology from the office of Her Majesty and informing me that through this action taken a sub-section of a law on the Isalnd had been amended related to such situation, to hopefully prevent such thing from again transpiring. It was a very frightening ordeal for me. I was concerned for my safety while taking this action, and experienced much anxiety related to the situation and possible outcome. Through this persons sexual harrassment In a position of power, I was objectified and bullied. This led me to feel small and powerless. While rejecting the advances, causing an intensified effort of part of the perpetrator, I knew I would have to leave this beautiful island that I loved and still do, or, choose to stay and attempt to stand up to this. I loved and love the Island so very much and chose not to allow this situation to Marr my experience and love of the beauty of the island. I stayed and truthfully was afraid while I went through theofficial channels to deal with this, however I felt that it would serve well to have taken a step to action. Now 12 years later back at home, happily married with a baby, my older self is very glad to have been able to think ahead in my choice to pursue a formal complaint. These things don’t go away though. They remain with you. * every person who has experienced something of this nature has their own way of dealing with this. It is a serious choice to come forward or not, both being the right choice for the victim and this is each individuals

  6. concerned CAYMANIAN TO THE BONE says:

    Another thing being brought in by North Americans and Europeans to get easy money and jump ship. SH is between two individuals and not the entire office. If a man is uncomfortable working with a woman then quit and the same goes for the woman.

    Just don't think this kind of behaviour will stop. This is from bible days and shall continue forever. Learn how to cope with it and get on with your life. There's more embarrassment than benefit. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Living in the 21st century must really be a trial for you. Equality for the sexes, equal justice under the lawmust seem so foreign to you.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I personally know of one government employee who has systematically harassed at least three single women in the 6 years I have been on island and working with them. He has exhibited completely inappropriate behaviour such as calling onewoman into his office and locking the door before telling her he 'just wanted to say how lovely she looked today and could he have a hug', calling a woman repeatedly on a Saturday evening saying he was downstairs in her apartment building and could he come up, making personal and suggestive comments towards them and engineering situations in which he would be on his own with them. On the surface a decent, upstanding, church going man in a position of great responsibility, what is really scary is that all 3 of these women are expats who are reliant upon him, as their immediate superior, to sign off on their contract renewals. What I find highly ironic about the situation was that all three of the women were from the Caribbean region and brushed off many of his initial  advances as being 'typical' of a man from this region. He has never (to my knowledge) made any advances towards female co-workers from Europe or North America (which is were I was recruited from), presumably due to the fact that they would take an incredibly dim view of this sort of behaviour and be much more likely to report him. His behaviour is predatory, premeditated and incredibly arrogant, and having been approached as a confidant by two out of the three women who have told me of his attitude towards them, I am aware that he makes them feel very uncomfortable. None, despite my urging, have reported him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for sharing that very believeable example of the sexual predator here in Cayman. Unfortunately there isn't any real remedy here that I know of.

      • Anonymous says:

        What?  The above commenter should have reported the incident from long time. That is what is wrong with Caymanian society… to many crimes committed and no one wants to talk about it or at least go anonymous online to crimestoppers. Don't know why he or she would make a comment on CNS for ratings?  Why now?  The matter should have been reported long time!

        • Anonymous says:

          Have you ever been in that position where a person in authority was harassing you? Where your career was at stake and options seems limited at best?

          Easy to talk.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Many sexual predators wait for a 1 to 1 interaction where there are no witnesses. This was Clintons pattern for years and only her dress with his sperm was the evidence that caught him  lying through his teeth.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bad example. I don't think Monica Lewinsky saw him as a sexual predator. It may well have been the other way around in that case.  

      • Anonymous says:

        Great example as Clinton had other women accuse him of unwanted sexual advances but there was never any proof as he always made it a he said she said. He was the predator and she was a nobody intern blame the victim it often happens.

        Think she is having a good life after that experience? Everywhere she goes for the rest of her life she will be known for this sexual situation. Who lost and who got away with it?

        • Anonymous says:

          The example used was Monica Lewinsky. There is no reason at all to believe that this was not fully consensual. Lewinsky saved her semen-stained dress not as evidence for a case to be brought against Clinton but rather as a trophy. Your sexist mindset is that in any illicit sexual encounter between a man and a woman the man is always the predator and the woman is the victim. That is nonsense. The fact that it was a stupid decision on her part (as well as his) and it cost her does not in any way exonerate her. Stupid decisions can cost us. As for who lost, they both did. Clinton got impeached – only the second President in U.S. history, and regardless of the fact that he was not convicted it remains a stain on his Presidency. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Herman Cain?  I have been watching US politics closely, and I can tell you that all his accusers have not come up with one thread of evidence that he sexually harassed them.They spoke live on television, and yet not one of them could come up with evidence?  Someone is paying CNN and other news services big moneys to repeatedly air these accusers. These accusers must be getting some gain on the side. Why?  Because it is no conciondence that these same accusers came out  in the month of October – November to accuse the man of harrassment that took place many years ago. They come out when Herman Cain is in the lead over Mitt Romney in the polls. You would have to be a "lulubin" or fool to sit back on your couch and suck up everything CNN and other  news sites feed you. Who do you think is running the media? $$$  If "they" don't want you to be President or rise to the  top, character assassination is their game. Presidents are selected not elected. Not saying that Herman Cain is innocent, but you can clearly see that the accusers, all attacking him at once. is not by chance!  That was planned and politically motivated, because his campaignmessage was reaching so many people.

    • Anonymous says:

      I assume you are getting your opinions intravenously from Fox News.

      • Cayman star says:

        i think the commenter was including fox news amongst other news… personally, i wouldn't have use hermain Cain's name in this article.

    • Anonymous9 says:

      Like fingerprint evidence? CSI-TV type of evidence?

      How about texts and phone call logs? Would that be enough for you?

      You probably think all of Sandusky's accusers are making up their accusations as well. You are the type of person that makes victims stay in the closet.

      But then again, maybe the 'victims' just want to be on TV! Great way to go about it..

      • cayman star says:

        lol… there is no phone call logs and text messages that has incriminated Cain… where did you get that from?

        • Anonymous says:

          lol, you're probably not the brightest Cayman star – Cain admitted to a 13 year extramarital relationships – albeit, a non-sexual one, if you're dumb enought to believe that…  and the others just came out of the woodwork because they felt like getting sued, right?  idjit

          • cayman star says:

            lol… pardon me, I didn't know an extramarital relationship is the same as sexual harrassment?  Still doesn't incriminate Cain… what is your point?!

            • Anonymous says:

              lol…pardon yourself…  explain why he did not sue those women who claimed that he sexually harassed them – an amoeba could figure that one out…  any particular reason that you're having such difficulties?

            • Anonymous says:

              The Sandusky case is a criminal act, and not sexual harassment.

    • Yo Mama says:

      And you have provided the perfect example why women in Cayman are reluctant to come forward. Cement heads always give the accused the benefit of the doubt and attack the accusers motivation for speaking out.

    • Anonymous says:

      Really, and you don't think that Cain would have sued them all for slander and defamation?  The reason he did not is because he knew that whatever they were stating is true.  Also, he did admit to having a relationship with one of the women for over 13 years, although he claimed that it was non-sexual – you're obviously the only meathead to believe that…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Don't forget those on work permits who are vulnerable to sexual predators holding those permits.

  11. Anonymous says:

    You seem to focus upon politicians and top civil servants with regard to the sexual harrassment issue. It is actually quite rampant in the private sector where bosses sometimes feel that because they pay your salary they have a right to the goods. Some of them are very prominent members of our society. Some of them are well-known expats. Don't get carried away just looking at the politicians.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I am a female, and I witnessed a male co-worker of mine making  very suggestive advances to another junior member of staff, a young lady who also told me it made her feel uncomfortable.  I learnt early in life, that women must speak up loudly for themselves, nip things in the bud before it gets any worse, and since this junior staff member seemed nervous about asking the male co-worker to stop,  I called him aside and told him without mincing words that he should stop it as neither the young lady nor I appreciated what he was doing and he must act like a professional, and if it occurred again, not only would I report it to management, but also to the labor board.  Needless to say, it stopped immediately.  Women, whether you are on a work permit or not, do not tolerate any such behavior – report it immediately and when consequences are brought to bear, only then it will stop.  When enough men in powerful places are embarrassed enough, they will learn fast to behave.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I agree with your post.

     

    Unfortunately, Cayman is a small place and the bad guys know where you live and work. Frightening when you think about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't be such a drama queen. If someone is harrassing you or stalking you, you report them.  

      • Anonymous says:

        Do you think that a restraining order will protect you from a deranged stalker?

         

        Remember that many "authorities" also live in fear of the powerful.