I AM A V-MAN
Anybody who mouths the cliché that men are stronger sex simply has not been paying attention! Throughout my life I have been blessed, challenged and changed by the often numbing violence, aggression and attacks on their bodies and souls that women whose paths I have crossed have been subjected to, endured and survived.
Case in point: a young lady who worked with me in Jamaica was molested and treated violently virtually shackled since 13 by raped. Raped like fruit picked and devoured before ripening. She was violated again by her stepmother’s demand for silence. She silently inhaled the smell of shame, swallowed the bile of blame. This ingestion clouded her mind, bloated not her belly, but her spirit. Her skin stretched paper-thin over her lovely frame making it next to impossible for her to feel comfortable in her own skin. When I met her, she was beautiful, stunning and talented, but never saw or felt that. She tried to commit suicide twice during the time she worked for me….she had been some maimed and damaged by the violence & abuse…it took lots of love, counseling, tears and pain, but thankfully she continues to heal and is alive today
While living in NYC I went to hear a poet called Sapphire read (she wrote Push, which is the source of the script for the movie Precious). She stood there weaving her soul into tapestries of prose and poetry. Her hard, edgy, unapologetic luminous words emitted sparks from her soul that threatened to blind me, stretched an umbilical cord through space, time and gender and forced me to open my eyes, ears and heart as she poured stories wrenched from her psyche, throat, breasts and vagina. I felt like a voyeur peeping into the moist, murky, menacing depths of her life. My first reaction was to dismiss what I was hearing and feeling as histrionics, but instead I relaxed and allowed her words, her pain to erode my male security. Then a life-changing thing happened: the abuse that was hers became mine, my soul started to scream and I became a little girl with whipped cream, semen and blood on my lips, a river of blood flowed from my vagina to my anus and I wanted to gather her in my arms and hold her, until the pain stopped, until the storm passed over. I wanted to return and restore her childhood, her virginity. I was overcome to reconstruct the shattered fragments of her little-girl pelvis, bathe and balm her tortured anus with my hands. She stood there; proud, powerful, goddess risen from the quagmire….my life has never been the same.
As a man, I continue to be stunned, impacted and affected, angered and
stimulated by the cultures of violence against women all over the world in general, and in my particular home Jamaica…the stories I’ve heard and seen have made me be committed to talking about the need for dialogue, action, mitigation, justice, cultural & legal shifts.
The incredible honour of being the V-Day* Kingston Organizer for 5 years has been a natural and rewarding extension, addition, chapter in my transformation and journey. I proudly call myself a V-Man!!
*V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual slavery. Eve Ensler’s critically acclaimed The Vagina Monologues was the catalyst for V-Day.
Through V-Day campaigns, local volunteers and college students produce annual benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities.