Member of Parliament for St Joseph Dale Marshall has expressed concern about
the country’s “accepting attitude” towards violence.
Speaking today in the House of Assembly on the Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) (Amendment) Bill, 2016, Marshall described the level of violence as “frightening”, and questioned why it seemed tolerable for young men to shoot into crowds or for young women to carry guns.
“We are seeing a level of violence and an almost accepting attitude towards violence in our society. Our young men are now accepting that it is perfectly in order to find a firearm and shoot into a crowd. Young women are finding it perfectly acceptable to be found with firearms in their bags and make-up kits.
“It is frightening to see that our society accepts that for 20 and 21-year-old young women it is a badge of honour to have a gun in her possession. That is not the Barbados that we should be celebrating in the first year of our independence or the 50th year of our independence,” the Opposition legislator said.
The former Attorney General supported the amendment, which seeks to combat the “blight” of domestic violence, including child abuse.
In condemning the practice, Marshall sought to differentiate between domestic violence and “ordinary” violence, arguing that the home ought to be a place of safety and solace.
“Domestic violence is a blight, not just on Barbadian society, but is a blight on any society that considers itself to be civilized. There will be people who will say that violence is violence, but I subscribe to the view that domestic violence is very different from ordinary violence.
“A cuff from a man or a woman in a bus stand is qualitatively different to a cuff delivered by a member of your household. I think the basic reason for that is the fact that a household is supposed to be a place where nurturing and comfort exist. A household is a place where it is built on the existence of trust and affection. Therefore it is irrational to expect that the ordinary course of criminal legislation could ever be expected to deal with that creature, domestic violence.”
Meanwhile, in taking a critical look at the amendments, Marshall suggested that Government should tread carefully since some of the powers conferred on the police might constitute breaches of people’s constitutional rights.