Rajiv Budhooram, a 28-year-old PhD candidate in chemical engineering, is calling on men to “pull up their bredrin” when they are harassing women, speaking about them in a degrading manner, sharing their nude photos or being misogynistic.
He was speaking with Newsday on Friday about the need to re-socialise boys and men to prevent sexual abuse. Budhooram shares the view that the onus should not be placed on women to protect themselves, but on men not to harm them.
"We need to pull up our bredrin when we see these toxic traits. We cannot ride along and defend these behaviours any more. We must protect women."
Budhooram said men must respect women, and the elders must teach boys how to respect women and girls. He said older men are comfortable having dehumanising conversations about women and it is the norm. Boys hear their fathers, brothers and uncles talking that way and believe it is acceptable.
"Many men when they are young are not given a proper upbringing on how to treat women."
Jared Walker, 28, wants sex education to be taught in schools, and suggests that parents speak to their sons about consent.
"Teach them from young about how to respect women."
Chantal Mohammed, 26, is calling for proper sex and moral education to be taught in school. She wants people to listen to and take seriously the emotional issues men experience.
"Stop telling men to toughen up. Stop telling them not to feel. When men have empathy, women are empathised with," Mohammed said.
Sexologist and Tobago Newsday columnist Onika Henry said she was harassed in a taxi by a man who reads her column.
"Because of the nature of my work, he assumed I did sex work for entertainment," she told Newsday.
Henry said the taxi driver heard what the man was saying and reprimand him, but that did not deter the man.
She and her harasser lived in the same community, and the taxi driver dropped the man first to ensure the man did not see where she lived. The taxi driver waited until she got in her house safely before driving away.
"How we socialise men and boys, the images we are perpetuating in the media, the normalisation of sexual violence among women needs to stop."
Henry said men need to stop allowing vulgar conversations about women, sharing pictures of naked women's bodies and victim blaming.
"There is a sense of entitlement men have that ignore our right as women."
Boys as young as three can begin sex education, Henry said. And with consistent education at every age, boys would understand how to respect women.
She said men who were sexually assaulted as children were more likely to become sexual predators than women who were sexually assaulted, because men were taught to be more dominant and exerting their dominance over a woman is how to gain power.
Sexual assault survivors need to have trauma work done on their bodies in conjunction with therapy to release the trauma the body stores.
Carol Quash, a Newsday editor, is raising a 12-year-old boy. She is terrified to be a woman and go out into the public. She is not only teaching her son how to respect women, but to respect and obey every law. Because if he cannot respect the little things like littering, he could easily disrespect other things.
Tips on how to prevent rape:
Give boys and men who are survivors of rape psychosocial support, trauma work and therapy
Respect women's bodily autonomy
Hold your friend and family members accountable if they do not respect women
Look out for women if you see them getting harassed
When you see your bredrin harassing a woman, tell them to stop.
Do not use dehumanising language to talk about women
Teach boys from as young as three about consent, body autonomy and respect for women.
Teach boys empathy
Teach sex education in school
Call out misogyny among your friends
Tell your friends if they are treating a woman badly
Check yourself if you see yourself being misogynistic