Viewers were outraged to see a social media video showing an Anglican priest, the school’s chaplain, kissing three girls in a row at St. Monica’s College after they had been recognised as distinguished students in the Chaplaincy Committee of the College during a Sunday mass. The crowd of girls went wild after the priest had kissed the first two girls, but the third girl displayed very hesitant body language.
The priest told her to pull down her face mask and then he forced her into a kiss. Not only does this violate the Covid-19 protocols given the number of rising cases in Ghana, but it violates the rights and the bodies of these young girls.
Year 2017 saw the uproar of the ‘Me Too’ movement in America. One of the most notable cases of sexual assault involved Harvey Weinstein. The movement catapulted this media mogul into the discerning eyes of the public after multiple women came out saying that he raped them.
It seems to me that from a foreigners’ perspective, there is criticism that everything in the US is considered sexual harassment. Yes, sometimes the training videos in our workplaces make the smallest phrases and gestures seem like a sexual harassment problem. However, I think the point is to prevent people from going too far or getting too comfortable with certain things and allowing it to turn into a bigger problem.
During the ‘Me Too’ movement, a lot of women come out to tell their stories about men in power who had sexually abused them. A lot of these incidents occurred years before these women were brave enough to tell anyone.
I was asked why so many women feel the need to come out years after the incident occurs. Why not just tell someone right away and have it on record that this person did something wrong? As women, when something like this happens to us, we are conditioned to feel like it is our fault. Women are typically too embarrassed or traumatized to tell anyone. In some cases, women are even scared of what their abuser could do to them if they tell someone about what happened.
Some people claimed that the ‘Me Too’ movement went too far because of the number of powerful men who were losing their careers over accusations. Constance Grady wrote in a Vox article, “Historically, we as a culture don’t do much to the rich and famous and powerful men of the world when women say that those men have hurt them. We give them Oscars and a seat on the Supreme Court and in the White House, and we call their accusers liars or hysterical or unreliable. We treat the men and their power as sacrosanct and the women and their pain as disposable.”
We are still seeing the effects of the ‘Me Too’ movement even in 2021 as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has resigned amid the recent sexual assault accusations against him.
By telling their stories, women claim their power back for themselves. I think it is mostly hard for people to come to terms with just how many women experience sexual harassment. A 2018 study from a nonprofit called Stop Street Harassment found that 81% of American women have experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault in their lifetime. The study also found that 43% of men have had these experiences as well which is something that I don’t think a lot of people talk about.
As I watched the video yesterday morning, I felt for these girls, Especially the last girl. You could clearly see in her body language that she was very uncomfortable. I also can’t imagine having that moment posted on social media where friends, family and later a whole country can watch and debate about the incident.
I really commend the school for immediately deciding to offer counselling services to the girls who were involved. This is such an important resource for these girls. Some may have seen it as just a kiss, but it is so important for these girls to be supported and have someone to listen to them.
The chaplain claims that the kiss was to show appreciation to the girls who distinguished themselves as students. With this claim, he shows that he doesn’t understand how he is using his position of power to take advantage of young girls.
The most important thing is consent. Whether it is a ‘holy kiss’ or not, one must consent to anything involving one’s own body. If you are uncomfortable with something, you have a right to be uncomfortable. The public was right to be outraged by the video and it is always so important to call people out who have power over others, and it is always important to discuss incidents such as this one.