Stop feel wi up - Women fed up with sexual assault at parties
Following Spice's 'Sheet Challenge Gone Wong' video, where a man pulled down his pants while dancing with the artiste on stage, several women have shared stories of them being sexually assaulted on the dance floor, and are calling for men to be more respectful of women in the space.
Dancehall Queen Danger, who has been dancing since she was five years old, told THE WEEKEND STAR that dancing is her passion, but the continued assault has caused her to feel depressed in the past.
"I can remember before I came to Kingston, I was in Montego Bay dancing, and I was doing a headstand. That's when they tend to do it. When you're off guard. They would come and you just feel their hand touch you," the 22-year-old dancer said.
"Sometimes, they would touch your pubic area and in private areas that they're not supposed to touch. One time it made me feel like I was very depressed because sometimes we wear clothing that are a bit revealing, and every time I try to dance, the males approach you wrong, especially the ones that are intoxicated."
Working at events
The dancer is therefore begging men to monitor their drinking habits and their overall behaviour in the dancehall because they can run into trouble otherwise.
Similarly, Romeich Major, owner of promotional company, Romeich Entertainment, said his girls have complained of men continuously attempting to engage them sexually when they are working at events or dancing on personal time.
"These people are just sick and perverted. People will say it's because the women them half naked mek them do that, but I've seen women fully clothed and they still get fondled. It's just the mentality of these people. And it's not even men alone. You have the women them wah bisexual a do the same thing. Some a dem worse than the males," Romeich said.
For dancer and brand ambassador Moeshaexotic, warding off sexual advances is a constant part of her experience.
"That is a part of what you experience every time you go out there, as long as you dress in something short. They just feel like it's OK to touch you a certain way or make certain comments, but you just have to know what you're doing," she said.
Overcome the challenge
Meanwhile, renowned dancer Keiva the Diva said she faced assault on the dance floor in her early years, but she has since overcome the challenge by establishing that she does not approve of such advances. She is now encouraging other females to do the same.
But gender specialist and women's advocate Glenda Simms insists that women should be free to enjoy themselves without abuse, however, they must be mindful of the realities of their society.
"Patriarchy is alive and 'unwell' in our society, and I think young women can't take it for granted that we have overcome. You have to be very careful of the message you send out because the men still feel that you are inviting them to assault you. Women need to develop their own strategies of holding on to their dignity, rather than pose as if they are selling their bodies," she said.