Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Fred Mitchell yesterday defended comments made by the party’s leader suggesting that whistles be provided to women and children to help deter crime, slamming critics of the comments as “social media trolls”.
On Tuesday, during the party’s monthly press conference at its headquarters, PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis called on government to provide complimentary safety whistles to women and children.
The comments led to backlash yesterday, with dozens taking to social media to express their criticism as memes ridiculing the suggestion made the rounds online.
But in a press release, Mitchell shot back: “I understand that social media trolls have been flapping up their gums about the suggestion by the leader of the opposition at his press conference on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, that whistles should be distributed to women as part of an anti-rape package.
“This is not a new idea. Anti-rape advocates across many jurisdictions have urged the use of rape whistles as a tool for sounding the alarm when a woman is attacked or threatened.”
He added, “Our leader indicated this as one of a number of tools in the anti-rape fight.”
While giving remarks on Tuesday, Davis took a moment to specifically focus on violence against women, noting recent murders, which he referred to as “bold, misogynistic incidents”.
He said that reading headlines about violence against women is “very difficult” for him “to sit through”.
Davis also claimed that the suggestion originally was from the Free National Movement (FNM) Manifesto, along with his other suggestions of government implementing an online “predators list” that is regularly updated and active “neighborhood cameras”.
The Guardian found no mention of rape whistles in the FNM Manifesto 2017 as published on the party’s website.
Accusing the FNM of not taking the issue of rape seriously, Mitchell said, “It is sometimes amazing in this silly season when rape is a serious issue and a template is suggested to help deal with the issue and all the FNM trolls can do is to foolishly descend into the jocular.
“Rape is not funny and those who participate in suggesting otherwise ought to be ashamed of themselves.”
In his release, Mitchell provided a link to a page of online marketplace Amazon showing emergency whistles for sale.