Indo-Caribbeans and Slut Shaming: The Story of Sharon Seudat

Indo-Caribbeans and Slut Shaming: The Story of Sharon Seudat

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by Shivana Jorawar

In 2016, 20-year-old Sharon Seudat was bleeding profusely at home in Long Island. After receiving emergency medical attention, a doctor determined the blood was a result of childbirth. Police would later found the infant’s body behind her house.

On Nov. 3, Seudat pled guilty to first-degree manslaughter under a deal that could send her to prison for up to eight years. According to officials, the infant was born alive at 7 pounds, 5 ounces and suffocated. Seudat is expected to receive sentencing in January.                            

In response to the news, many Indo-Caribbean people took to social media to call Seudat a “whore” who “should have kept her legs closed.” They condemned her for having sex when she “should have” been focusing on school and asked, “why she big she belly” in the first place.

There is a long history of slut-shaming in the Indo-Caribbean community. After the end of the British slave trade, from 1838-1917, our ancestors were brought as indentured laborers from India to the Caribbean to replace African labor on sugar plantations. The first ships that arrived carried 1 woman for every 10 men, according to Gaiutra Bahadur’s “Coolie Woman.”  As a result, female partners were scarce and jealousy was in abundance. Women faced brutal treatment, including rape, killing, and disfigurement as punishment for adultery – or, very often, suspected adultery.

[Read Related: The Indo-Caribbean Experience: Now and Then]

Personally, I am appalled that Seudat took her infant’s life, but I am also deeply disturbed by the shaming and lack of inquiry from my Indo-Caribbean community. For instance, was she suffering from depression? Was she abused by a parent or a partner? And, most importantly, what could we have done to prevent this?

As someone who became pregnant at a young age, I remember the fear of being exposed to my Indo-Caribbean parents. I remember imagining how hard they would beat me, the names they would call me, and being pulled out of school. I remember “force-ripe,” a term hurled at young women who dressed provocatively, echoing in my ears. Unlike Seudat, I found out very early that I was pregnant and—with difficulty—was able to have an abortion.

Although we do not know all the details of her experience, we can surmise that stigma played a major role. She hid the pregnancy from her parents as well as the infant’s father.  Many parents and schools are uncomfortable with sex-education, and perhaps she never learned about family planning. Maybe, to hide that she was sexually active and prevent having to share her truth with medical professionals, she didn’t use contraception, the morning-after pill, or an abortion. Maybe she didn’t know where to go. Maybe she couldn’t afford it. Moreover, the familial and social pressure could have driven her into numbness and inertia, hoping the pregnancy would somehow go away on its own.

This is not the only case of this nature in the South Asian community. Nausheen Rahman went to a hospital seeking care in March 2016 for bleeding after giving birth at home. She was reported to police by hospital staff and then charged with second-degree murder.

Original Post

Social media is the new front for Guyanese kutyism. Kutyism embedded in Guyanese, and it is unavoidable since they use kutyism as a therapy for loneliness. That said, Leonora chose strong language to denigrate Guyanese as a whole. I totally disagree with her statement.

Leonora posted:

Guyanese are very cruel, even family members judge each other mercilessly. That's why I moved away far from everyone. I'm enjoying my life and accomplishments. Sometimes I feel secluded and cut off from Guyanese, but it pays off in the long run. 

Early next summer the closest Guyanese could possibly be an hour away from me and he migrated when he was five years of age. I should open a Roti shop and teach the locals a thing or two with my cooking skills.

Leonora, it is not only Guyanese who hurt those they love, this happens in many homes which I have learned a long time ago and was driven home recently after meeting many new people.

It is also sad to hear how greed can cause family members to manipulate dying relatives to change their wills so that they get their greedy paws on all that relative owned, then turn around and kick their own family members to the curb. Some of these greedy people were never on the scene but soon as someone is deceased they show up seeking their share.

You need a lash nuh? I am moving to a Province where the population is mainly Acadians/Cajuns I am not moving away because of Guyanese, you twerp.

FYI Lord Twerpness, this is the only site I visit...no facebook..twitter etc. So shut ya poke.

People can chose whether they want to live among Guyanese or not. They can do so by right and free will. I lived in NY in the populated Guyanese neighborhood with peace and comfort, but I wouldn't allow anyone to bad mouth my people for any reason.

Thank you Chiefy for standing up for our humble, kutney Guyanese. You can hate them, but you can't live without them. Lol

Leonora posted:

Guyanese are very cruel, even family members judge each other mercilessly. That's why I moved away far from everyone. I'm enjoying my life and accomplishments. Sometimes I feel secluded and cut off from Guyanese, but it pays off in the long run. 

cannot do without your Guyanese why u here think before u post 

Chief posted:

Good morning ,

You should hear some of these Guyanese especially the ones from GT.

' I do not want to be among Guyanese" in a very  different accent and then the next breath " Pass me another dholl puri and a piece of black cake".

You should have dropped one kick in each "ah dem ass".

skeldon_man posted:
Chief posted:

Good morning ,

You should hear some of these Guyanese especially the ones from GT.

' I do not want to be among Guyanese" in a very  different accent and then the next breath " Pass me another dholl puri and a piece of black cake".

You should have dropped one kick in each "ah dem ass".

You mad or what? He rass cyan balance on one leg.

Leonora posted:
cain posted:
You mad or what? He rass cyan balance on one leg.

  What's going on here? I was out of town for a few days, and a family member was reading and posted something above. 

I dunno. A family memmber made my post too..hehee

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