By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes (rom thorns, or figs from thistles?
If there’s one thing that won’t help prevent domestic violence, it’s the “radical” approach that Marilyn Rice-Bowen of the National Organization of Women (NOW) has threatened- presumably against men. We,of course, are not unmindful of NOW’s essential role nor constituency, but do not hold that anything useful will come of its president’s invective.
Next, the Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA), among whose
remit is “to champion the cause, and to safeguard the right of men enshrined
in the Barbados Constitution and to identify and effect positive change regarding key issues affecting men” will be responding to this air of perceived bitterness, and the matter of breaking the cycle of gender violence will have seen no hope.
Clearly, it is not enough for a perpetrator of death in a personal relationship
to be arrested, charged, prosecuted, found guilty and jailed. Though the killer
will have ostensibly fully paid his debt to society – since we no longer hang murderers – his usually temporary stay at Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds does nothing to alleviate the pain of surviving relatives, or to dull their trauma
or erase horrific memories.
Neither NOW’s acidity nor the likely shouting match between NOW itself and MESA’s Ralph Boyce will land us anywhere solid and firm. Their level-headedness is needed now more than ever. In the last quarter or so we
have had nigh half-dozen domestic killings – all by the hands of unthinking or
unthoughtful men. What indeed brought them to this degenerate state? Is it true that men can’t take “a done”, as some women advocates are apt to say?
Or is it that neither woman nor man can, but their reactions to their dilemma are drastically different? While the woman will subtlely make her former spouse’s life ever miserable, the man will rashly take that of his former partner in a hurry?
Obviously,we do not support domestic or gender violence of any kind; but we do not see finger pointing as any remedy to this madness and calamity. And so while we aver that there is no excuse for the domestic killing of another over a difference of opinion or position, we need to get to the root cause or causes of this recent rash of intimate partner murders.
And we note that not all of the domestic violence has taken place between spouses,or former spouses, at home. There has been as well the example
of stalking and killing.
This ruthless and brutal taking of life just will not do, and with that stand
alone we empathize with NOW and Ms Rice-Bowen and share in the outrage, but righteous indignation will bring us all diddly-squat. Evidently, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, celebrated in October last, has not galvanized enough attention, interest, or emotional commitment to the resolution of its
cause. It behoves us therefore for the benefit of all Barbadians, from now, to dedicate the next year – all of 2014 -to the campaign of non-violence in intimate relationships. And we will do so incorporating and expanding upon the courses and workshops NOW itself and other gender-related organizations currently present in the community.
At the heart of this, though, will be a coming together of NOW and MESA on this troubling issue of intimate relationship violence and its elimination. If these two representative bodies of genders cannot settle their differences and come
to common ground on the solidification of relationships and their preservation through compromise and mutual benefit, what message of encouragement could they themselves be sending to individuals and unions in this country?
By their deeds they shall be judged; not by their words!
That we are not as violent as our CARICOM neighbours is no comfort to the families of the comparatively small number of our women so savagely taken from us – who could be a mother, aunt,sister, daughter, granddaughter, cousin of
any of us. If NOW and MESA would do what we request of them, then all
right-thinking Barbadians would give them their utmost backing – by moral support, time, sweat or financial gifting, or all of the preceding.
We cannot save our women by waiting until they are killed. We can do so by preventing the circumstances that lead to such savagery. We can do it by standing together , interacting with and teaching families, counselling and guiding couples, presenting the values of anger management, considerateness, compromise and peace.
There are some emotional dynamics we surmise contribute greatly to
intimate relationship violence: notions planted in the heads of partners, such as “you’re not a man if you can’t control her”, or “he ain’t no head over you; you equal to him”, or “she is making a fool out of you”, or “he has another woman with you” or “she/he is controlling you. Don’t let her/him” . …
The samples are virtually endless.
These need profound resolution. Just maybe NOW and MESA can get their hands to it- and their heads! Peace and love!