Nightclub assaults under fire

I have read with great interest a letter published in the Wednesday, 11 April, edition of your newspaper titled, ‘Pinching, poking at nightclubs’ and would like to respond in support of the letter writer and add my own perspective on the issue.

First of all, I will relate a similar incident that I experienced recently at one of the major nightclubs here on-island. I was out with a female friend and we ended up meeting up with a friend of hers at the nightclub later on.

Both females are extremely physically attractive, intelligent and respected professionals in their chosen careers; people that are due every human respect, regardless of gender.

We three are standing, drinking together and talking as much as the music would allow and enjoying a social evening out, which is what going out to places of entertainment is and should be all about, under normal conditions.

Along comes this local young man with whom I am slightly acquainted but unknown to the two females and without further ceremony, introduction, permission or even social conversation, begins to fondle and touch the hair of one of the females, luckily for him, not the one that was my companion for the evening.

I waited to see what the outcome of this encounter would be.

The girl looked at him in the most disapproving, insulted and dismissive of manners, clearly indicating that she did not care for this attention, was feeling threatened and intimidated and abused and that he should stop this behaviour immediately.

Under normal conditions as expressed by your original letter writer, the average person would expect this young man to get the message without being told, apologise for his rude, ill-mannered behaviour and move on, leaving us to get back to enjoying our evening before his un-solicited intrusion invaded our space and privacy.

Nothing of the sort happened and he continued to fondle the female until I had seen enough and decided to intervene.

I asked him “Are you aware that she does not want you touching her and that you should stop immediately?” His response to me was “Whose side are you on?” My response to him was, “This has nothing to do with taking sides. This has to do with you abusing this lady who is clearly showing you her disapproval, which you are ignoring and you need to stop touching her immediately”.

He finally got the message, grunted an unintelligible response, and moved on, no apology forthcoming at all. A perfect example of the problem pointed out by your letter writer.

This problem is across the board with the young male population that frequents the major nightclubs and is not limited to any one segment of our society, as I have observed it.

It is time that the authorities that are responsible for liquor licensing and security of places of entertainment take the matter seriously. These are the situations that lead to fights and violence in nightclubs regularly.

The male population of the Cayman Islands – and females as well – need to be told in no uncertain terms that touching another person intentionally, unnecessarily and without their acknowledged or implied permission is nothing less than physical assault and that the context of a nightclub does not alter that fact.

An upgrade of the security industry laws and the commensurate training of security officers in arrest, restraint and control techniques is now a vital need and concern for our society.

We need to acknowledge that the Cayman Islands has long since lost its innocence and that we are putting innocent, unprotected people and their safety at risk, the longer we choose to ignore this problem.

A safe society for all is a collective responsibility for all of us who reside in that society and a responsibility that we choose to ignore at our peril.

Ricardo Tatum

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