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THE NETTE EFFECT: Simmons, Ho equally at fault


ANTOINETTE CONNELL, [email protected]

THE NETTE EFFECT: Simmons, Ho equally at fault

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IN A LAST-DITCH EFFORT to secure some sea eggs before the ban kicked in on Sunday, I called up Marva from St Philip.

It has long been rumoured that the parish is legendary for it sea eggs, which apparently have the ability to last for several years. Yes, that is why during prohibition you will still find sea eggs knocking around in the kitchen of the easterners.

But Marva soon informed me that my efforts were in vain as she had already gotten rid of her remaining stock.

Disappointed, I quickly moved on to other matters talking about this, that, them and these until the conversation ended up on the Lendl Simmons affair, that landmark revenge porn case in Trinidad.

Generally we had no problem with the ruling. We believe that it will make vengeful partners think twice before using the Internet to unleash their wrath on their exes.

Still, there were some troubling aspects of the decision and the view as expressed by Justice Frank Seepersad.

I, make that we, run the risk of having our heads asked for on a platter because we hold a dissenting opinion on the matters. The court came into the matter after the Simmons and Therese Ho illicit affair ended less than amicably.

Live-in lover

A quick read of the case suggested that Simmons had a live-in lover, the mother of his child, who is now his wife. Ho was also involved in a relationship of her own – with the father of her younger child – but, according to court documents, was under the impression that Simmons’ living arrangement was one of “convenience”.

Somehow these two found each other and in the course of the secret affair, some intimate photos were taken, some initiated by Ho and others by Simmons. When things were good, they traded photos.

Then things ended and Ho contacted Simmons’ intended – out of a sense of moral duty – with the news of the affair. She struck the first blow.

Simmons retaliated by dispatching the racy photos – despite Ho and her friends’ text pleadings – to friends, outsiders and Ho’s partner.

First there was an injunction by Ho to stop the further dissemination of the photos and then the substantive lawsuit for a breach of confidentiality, which she won.

By my reckoning both parties deserved each other.

Did Ho really have the moral duty to do such? The sense of morality should have kicked in the moment the affair was about to begin when Simmons employed the same flimsy excuse as any other man living with a woman. I am more willing to believe that if anybody had the moral authority it would be Simmons, to confess to his partner his dalliances.

Ho said she was publicly ridiculed, felt suicidal and was reassigned at work, none of which Simmons’ counsel challenged. And that may be easy to believe because of the biased view of society. The woman is to be ridiculed and the man patted on the back in such cases.

Simmons, on the other hand, claimed they were not in a relationship but were having sex and he sent photos to Ho’s partner after she sent to his partner, so it was she who breached the confidentiality. But the court did not believe him and the end result was that Simmons may have to pony up unless he appeals the decision.

But the court ruling has served, Marva and I agree, to reinforce and reflect the society’s notion on the bias in the sex act when it comes to men and women.

The court is assuming that she got the worse of the situation because she is a woman. Both had the pleasure of the act but Simmons played the card of the conqueror and Ho played the card of victim. Isn’t that the cultural norm?

The workplace fell into the same trap. By reassigning her, the company was saying she did something wrong by having sex. If she is stained, then Simmons is stained. If Simmons is right, then she is right. Both engaged in the same action under the same circumstances.

• Antoinette Connell is a News Editor. Email [email protected]

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