The Nation Newspaper’s Scarlet Letter. The public shaming of bullied teenager by Barbadian media and some of its citizens

Many teenagers are living half their lives on social media sites, and they’re writing the rules as they go. One online trend that is disturbing is something called “slut shaming” — using photos and videos to turn a girl’s private life inside out. This trend is one aspect of what is now being called “Cyber Bullying”. The recent gang beating and subsequent public shaming of a young teenager by her peers was a combination of “Physical and Cyber Bullying”. If the publishing of the beating on social media can be considered “public shaming”what then can we say about the same images that were shared on social media, being further published by local newspapers and magazines? 

In the Puritan times of the 17th century, shaming women as in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter for their wanton acts was a whole town effort.

Today, this so-called slut shaming has a new tool. Instead of the town square, some people now turn to social media sites to share explicit photos and videos to shame women and girls from among their peers. As we are seeing public shaming not only has a new tool, it has new victims and perpetrators.

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On a Facebook posting there was a picture of a half-naked girl, lying on a bed. The boy who posted it tagged the picture so that everyone could see it and go to the girl’s page. Within less than an hour, the photo had about 443 likes and 261 comments. Comments like “your life is officially shot LMAO,” and “I think she gonna cut her veins when she see this.”

People post these pictures and videos and make “smut lists” for their neighborhood or school. Others share it not to shame or humiliate the victim, but to bring public awareness to a situation. Then there are those who are just in it for the hype. In the end, they all have the same effect on the victim, “public humiliation.”

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The boy who put up the picture in the above case, posted a status update saying he received 2,000 friend requests because of the photo. I wonder how the sales of the Nation Newspaper that published the brutal attack of a school child by her peers were on that day. I am sure that the  Nation Newspaper, just as the boy mentioned above, received much more attention and sales due to their publishing of the images of the gang beating of the teen aged girl.

In my research on public shaming, I came across a report about a girl who faced a similar situation. Her boyfriend put an intimate video of them up on the Internet, and suddenly everyone was talking about it. “He was going around holding his head high,” the girl says. “He gave me a bad name.

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In a report from a girl who was bullied and video recorded, she said she knew she was being recorded but was helpless to stop it or the attack.

At school, she was hoping that it wouldn’t be too big of a deal and save her more embarrassment , but even the principal knew about the video. He brought her to his office and called her mom.

“I couldn’t even look at my mother because I felt hurt and I also felt that I let her down,” she says. “I didn’t want kids in the school to look at my mother and be like, ‘Wow, she raised nothing.’ ”

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I see girls get exposed like this on my Facebook newsfeed almost every day. As for the schools, they have had to take on a new role. Some students take screenshots of the cyber bullying they see online, print them out and bring it to their teachers as evidence.

In cases where somebody might put up a sexually explicit video, Erica Doyle, the assistant principal of one school, says school officials absolutely should immediately contact the authorities. “Because once we’re dealing with digital media that is sexually or violently explicit [and] that has been captured and shared with the public, that actually now is a criminal matter,” Doyle says.

Teenagers today aren’t necessarily crueler than they were in the 1600s. It’s just that now when we chastise each other, everybody who has access to the Internet can see it. And once that picture or video is out, you can’t be completely safe in your mind that the past won’t creep up on you at some random time.

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This is the new scarlet letter. This article is a further call to send a message to the Nation Newspaper that it has contributed to the public shaming of the teen aged girl gang beaten by her peers. The Nation Newspaper in 2013 was charged with footage of sexual intercourse involving minors (not sure how that ended), now it is doing the same thing again. It seems no lesson has been taken from that case by the Nation Newspaper and much of the public.

The Nation Newspaper can fight a case such as that one in the law courts and may have a change of winning by some legal loophole. They however cannot get around a public show of disgust for their part in the public shaming of this teen aged girl, if we as a nation boycott their newspaper for just three days.

This article is being written on the fourth day of this call for a national boycott of the Nation Newspaper. Responses to this call so far have included arguments such as ” we like to hide, the images brought urgent attention to the situation, a boycott will accomplish nothing” are but a few. To address these I will ask  those who spoke about urgent attention, what has come out of the publishing of the children having sex in 2013? What has been put in place in schools to address this? The comment of “we like to hide”, for me is just based on ignorance and does not deserve a response.

To those who think a boycott will have no effect, I will close with some boycott history.

History of Successful Boycotts

Boycotts have a long and noble history of contributing to progressive social change, as well as succeeding in their more immediate goals.


Boycott Safeway 1941

Boycott against Safeway until they employed African Americans in 1941. Photo Credit: Washington Area Spark

One of the earliest examples was the boycott in England of sugar produced by slaves. In 1791, after Parliament refused to abolish slavery, thousands of pamphlets were printed encouraging the boycott. Sales of sugar dropped by between a third and a half.

By contrast sales of Indian sugar, untainted by slavery, rose tenfold in two years. In an early example of fair trade, shops began selling sugar guaranteed to be have been produced by ‘free men’.

Recent examples of successful boycott campaigns:


JANUARY:  The United Methodist Church, a Presbyterian denomination that numbers over seven million members, said it will not invest in the five banks for financing “settlement activity” over the 1949 Armistice lines.

The five banks to be boycotted by the church’s pension board are:

  •     Bank Hapoalim,
  •     Bank Leumi,
  •     First International Bank of Israel,
  •     Israel Discount Bank and
  •     Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot.

Colette Nies, a spokeswoman for the pension board, said that the guideline, approved by the board in 2014 and carried out last year, applied to 14 different regions around the world, including the Middle East.

MARCH: Seaworld have announced that they will end all ocra breeding programmes this year, making this generation of captive orcas the last to be kept in SeaWorld’s tanks. They will also phase out of orca whale shows in all the parks.

This is a huge victory for animal rights campaigners and follows pressure from numerous campaign groups including PETA and the Captive Animals’ Protection Society from the UK.


MAY: Global security services giant G4S provides services to Israeli prisons in which human rights campaigners have documented systematic torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including child prisoners. In 2015, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sold its stake in G4S.  JUNE: After its AGM in June 2015 was severely disrupted by protesters, G4S announced that it will end its Israeli prison contracts in the next three years.


The United Church of Christ, a Protestant denomination in the USA with around a million members, unanimously approved an Israel divestment resolution in June. Their General Synod voted 508-124 in favour.

Reverend James Moos, executive minister of UCC Wider Church Ministries and co-executive of Global Ministries, told Business Insider that the vote was representative of the church’s commitment to peace in the Middle East.

“The United Church of Christ condemns all forms of violence and anti-Semitism, and affirms Israel’s right to exist within secure and internationally recognized borders,” Moos said in a statement. “We similarly assert the right of Palestinians to have a sovereign, independent and viable state within secure and recognized borders.”


AUGUST: French multinational Veolia was involved in the Jerusalem light railway, which connects Jerusalem to illegal Israeli settlements.  It also operates a landfill site in the occupied Jordan Valley which takes waste from Israel (in violation of international law) and formerly ran settler-only bus routes in the West Bank.


Photo Credit: BDS Movement


I think the only response that I have heard in regards to this boycott of the Nation Newspaper that I will agree with is that Barbadians are not designed for action. They are followers and drunk from another man’s rum and education. Barbadians will never take a stance as did the white people when one of their own was thought to have gone missing. Bajans will march with Mia to complain but the next day what? They want change but they want someone else to do it.

If you are one of those Bajans who can see that the Nation Newspaper has contributed to the “Scarlet Letter” of the young lady gang beaten you can make a stand silently by not buying your usual Friday , Saturday or Sunday Nation Newspaper next weekend. You need not even argue your point to anyone.

If you do however agree, even if you don’t purchase a Nation Newspaper, please share this article with four people as it is the fourth day of this call of action to boycott. I know we have a lot of other issues to address but that must not make us overlook this one.


Remember you can have your say also on advocating gun violence in music.

Too Much Black Blood Ah Run. Teach the youth a better way through the music.


Author: Admin

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