Sen. Lorraine Berry deserves accolades for urging the Rules Committee on Monday to clear up the charges of sexual harassment against Col. Eddy Charles before sending his nomination to head the National Guard to the full Legislature. Unfortunately, Berry was the only committee member to take that position and to vote against moving the nomination.
We wish we could say that Berry's strong stand will give other women the courage they need to report incidences of sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace and elsewhere in the Virgin Islands. But with five senators all men voting to approve Charles nomination, it probably wont, especially considering that two women who reported sexual harassment at the Legislature last year no longer have jobs there.
It was interesting, and disappointing, to hear freshman Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson proclaim that sexual jokes and innuendoes are common place in the Virgin Islands. This sells the people of these islands short.
Berry did not sell women or the people of the Virgin Islands short. She stood up for them, and we applaud her for it.
We do not know if the claims against Eddy are justified or not, and neither did the five senators who voted to move along his nomination. But we agree with Berry that it was important to see him cleared before he is voted into this important job.
If he is confirmed without such clearance, the message to women will be loud, strong and negative. Sadder still, it could result in furthering the seemingly unchecked incidence of sexual harassment, stalking and abuse in these islands and that would be a stain on every decent person who lives here.