MP Fuad Khan’s statement that makes a causal link between domestic violence/violence against women and the lyrics of soca is yet another “Fuadism’’ that should be dismissed out of hand. Known in political circles for making outlandish statements in order to get media attention and a “Ras G” video persona, Khan once again proves true to form. It is not by accident that this anti-soca statement is made mere weeks before Carnival.

Over a year ago Khan body shamed a woman for being overweight and the United National Congress (UNC) was forced to distance itself from the MP. Khan had to eventually apologise for the reckless statement.

Khan asserted, “Carnival causes it. Carnival degrades women to the extent that our men feel it is okay to be degrading a woman. All our Carnival songs, all our Carnival movements...women feel they have to get on like some kind of wajang. Carnival degrades women. Carnival songs degrade women and men feel it’s okay to degrade them too.”

Without providing a shred of empirical data or anecdotal evidence to support the hypothesis that soca influences violence against women, Khan is able to jump on the domestic violence bandwagon with ease. What of countries where there is violence but no soca?

Khan ignores the socialisation process of males in the society, the impact of poverty, the changing male/female dynamics in a post-colonial society, media, movies, the internet, pornography etc. Instead the brunt of the blame is placed on soca music.

Khan is a trained and practising surgeon and urologist of repute, he is not however a psychologist or a behavioural researcher. While there have been international studies on the issue such as “The Influence of Non-Misogynous and Mixed Portrayals of Intimate Partner Violence in Music on beliefs about Intimate Partner Violence” by Renae Franiuk, Jill Coleman, Bethany Apa (2016) there has been no comparable Trinidad and Tobago studies.

We need to do the hard work, research the problem of domestic violence and violence against women and not simply shout out a reason without evidence. If indeed it is found there is a derivative link between soca lyrics and violence then it should be banned from the radio, schools as well as parties and competitions so as to mitigate against the anti-social effects.

Fuad, stick to surgery and leave soca alone!

Devant Maharaj

former People’s

Partnership minister

via e-mail

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