The September 3rd Foundation today issued a solemn apology to the family of Brenda Belle, whose grisly murder shocked the island Tuesday night, further calling for an immediate protocol to deal with domestic violence.
The non-profit charity, formed after the September deaths of the Campus Trendz women, expressed “profound feelings of horror and disgust” at the murder of Belle, who was chopped to death by a male assailant.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the relatives of the Guyana-born Brenda Belle, all of whom, it appears, reside overseas. But we would also like to extend a huge apology to them!
“We believe that we speak for all of the responsible, decent, right-thinking people of Barbados when we apologise to Ms. Belle’s relatives for the collective failure of our law enforcement and social welfare system to protect Ms. Belle and to save her from the grisly fate that destroyed her precious life last Tuesday night.
“We are appalled that a woman could be violently attacked in so public a place as the Fairchild Street Market by a man who clearly had a history of inflicting violence on her; that she could be stabbed or cut so badly that she required medical attention at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital; that the matter could be reported to the police; and that she could be simply left in an unprotected condition, and so accessible and vulnerable that her assailant was able to complete his mission of murder a mere three days later!”
The foundation lamented that something was wrong with the scenario, charging that the system had failed Belle “in a most shameful manner”.
The organisation further called on the public to denounce the failure and demand reforms.
“What is the ‘protocol’ that is applied when it is reported to the authorities that a woman has been the victim of extreme domestic violence? Is there a Protocol?
“When a woman reports to the Accident & Emergency Department of the QEH suffering from stab wounds or other physical injuries inflicted by a male, is the matter automatically reported to the police, or to a specially designated social worker, or to a domestic violence victim protection institution such as the Save Foundation?
“When it is reported to the police that a woman has been violently assaulted by a male, what is the protocol? Do the police really refuse to intervene until that are in receipt of a written medical report on the victim? Do the police automatically contact any of the institutions that offer assistance to the victims of domestic violence?” September 3rd Foundation, queried, calling for answers from the commission of police, the attorney general, the Bureau of Gender and Affairs and the director of the hospital.
“The September 3rd Foundation is hereby urging all of the women’s organisations of Barbados to mobilise themselves and to take immediate steps to ensure that a proper official protocol is put in place, mandating an effective and serious response to all reports of domestic and other violence against women,” it stated. (LB)