Natalie Harewood. (FILE)
The decision of a former prostitute to enter Barbados’ election campaign by seeking the Bridgetown parliamentary seat is a credible effort that’s focusing national attention on prostitution in the island-nation.
That’s according to Dr Myrna Lashley, a Barbadian who is a McGill University psychology professor and an expert in cultural diversity in Canada. She said Barbadians were making a mistake if they dismissed Natalie Harewood’s vote-getting drive as laughable or meritless.
“I don’t know why Natalie was going around The Garrison at night [as a prostitute]. I don’t know. Until we know why she did it we shouldn’t rush to judgement about her past and her current desire to be elected to Parliament. I was told that she is going around today urging young women not to get into prostitution because that’s not the way to do it” she said.
“But those girls would believe her more than they would believe you or me who never went through that. If that’s what she is doing now in her campaign, all power to her. Nobody can do that better than someone who has lived through it.”
Lashley, who once headed a national panel in Canada that looked into multi-culturalism, recalled driving along the streets that surround The Garrison one night with her husband and a prostitute came up to the vehicle, lifted her skirt and exposed herself to the couple. But apart from the initial shock she said she didn’t react negatively because she didn’t know why the prostitute had turned to sell her body in that way.
Harewood’s candidacy has attracted international media attention, including interest from Sputnik International Online, a media service in Moscow, Russia’s capital.
“If Natalie’s thing is to highlight some of the things that drove her into prostitution that would be a good thing,” said Lashley. “The scientific literature has shown that a lot of young girls who end up in prostitution come out of abusive situations.
The psychologist cited the case of a Bajan man in Montreal who was luring young female offenders into prostitution by offering them shelter and illegal drugs but sexually abusing them.
She believes many of the prostitutes in Barbados were mothers who turned to the adult sex industry to support their children. (TB)