I can recall applying for a part-time office job a year ago because I needed to earn a little money to help out with my financial struggles as a university student, just to help out with the basics. I got a call from the department I sent my application and went for an interview the following morning.

The dress code was semi-formal so I really didn’t need to overdo it. I met with the head of the department, *Mr. Morris, a short light-skinned man who seemed very professional and straightforward. I sat in his office waiting for the interview to begin. He briefly looked at my resume then stated, “you’re very beautiful, yuh know that.”

I gave him a confused and awkward look. I began to feel uncomfortable. He stated immediately, “you got the job but there are some rules we need to go over.”

He briefly stated the office rules then said with a light devious look on his face, ” oh and another thing, should anyone here try to make ‘advances’ towards you there’s no need to go telling anyone about it, simply let me know if you’re offended and I’ll take it from there…. even if they happen to be married.”

That’s exactly what he said while playing with his wedding band on his finger. The nerve of this man I thought.

Sexual harassment in Jamaica can almost, in most cases, be overlooked as not much emphasis I believe is placed on this issue especially on the streets of Jamaica where bus drivers, taxi men, conductors, sellers, ‘man weh walk pan foot’ every day tell a woman how her assets look pleasing in the most derogative bumboclaat way.

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. I’m saying ‘unwelcomed’ because “we not asking for it”.

Too bumboclaat often we hear about cases of sexual harassment taking place in offices, public spaces, church, and even schools!

I believe this occurs due to the uncultured nature of most men who have not learned self-control and how to respect women. And it starts from the home. To begin with, it highlights the need for more mothers, sisters and aunts to instill in men proper manners and kind ways of dealing with women and girls whether in the household or outside. It also includes training a young boy to respect his mother, his sisters and female counterparts so that when he grows older, he will not depart from it. And further to the home, if we can channel this teaching through our education system and public awareness campaigns the possibility exists that sexual harassment would not be such a huge problem.

If she never wan me fi touch har, or say anything to har she wouldn’t dress deh way deh.”

This is the second most ridiculous bumboclaat reason some men state they harass women verbally and otherwise.

Now let’s set the record straight.

Let me talk to the men: Women have the right to choose and lead the lives they desire. And this does not give you consent to approach a woman in an unkind manner because of your unfair judgments of want she desires.

Now let me talk to the women: Men have the right to dress in the manner they so choose, therefore, the idea that men cannot relate is absurd. There are men who feel uncomfortable when women verbally or otherwise may advances to them without their consent.

Sexual harassment is not okay! Let me say that again for the ones in the back to hear. SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS NOT OK!

Whether male or female, keep your hands to yourself and if you are unable to give a light pleasing compliment instead of verbally harassing someone, kibba yuh mouth’ or face the bumboclaat consequences.

What are your views on the the topic? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time, live bumboclaat good.

*Name has been changed.