The President of the Senate, Claudius Francis, has raised questions as to where the line should be drawn in the matter of gender harassment.
Francis was addressing the opening ceremony today of a conference on gender based political harassment.
He recalled that just two week ago, West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle was interviewed by a female reporter whom he invited for a drink afterwards.
“For his invitation he was find ten thousand Australian dollars, censured and was told that his career in Australia was virtually over because he may no longer be invited in the future,” Francis told the conference.
However he noted that three days later the very same reporter called Mark Waugh by the name of his twin brother, Steve.
“Recognizing her error she said to him ‘I will buy you a drink later’” Francis told the conference, adding:
“No ensure, no ten thousand dollar fine, no threat of ever being on the podium anymore. Same incident, same country, same cricket match same reporter, different outcomes.”
The Saint Lucia Senate President said he was not suggesting that Chris Gayle was right or wrong, but merely indicating that men have a difficult role to straddle because they do not know where the line has been drawn.
Francis observed that in certain countries to open a door for a female is considered a good thing to do, whereas in other countries it is considered demeaning since it suggests that the woman is a lesser person.
Said the Senate President:
“Where do we draw the line?”
“In the debates in parliament you are never sure whether to respond to what a female member of parliament says because even responding to the actual comment can sometimes be construed as responding to the person,” he declared.