An opposition parliamentarian has made a case for the public’s involvement in the framing of legislation dealing with violence in the home and sexual abuse.
Member of Parliament for St Thomas Cynthia Forde said today Barbadians ought to have a say in measures such as the Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) (Amendment) Act, 2016, and Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
In her contribution to the debate on the amended domestic violence legislation, the Barbados Labour Party MP said these issues were no longer taboo and the public was willing to discuss them.
“People are witnessing people’s lives that are brutally destroyed. They see people’s futures that are destroyed because of the scars that would have been left behind because of the sexual offence that would have taken place,” Forde said.
In supporting the legislation, the St Thomas MP spoke of women who were beaten to a “pulp” by their partners but declined to speak about it because they felt there was no future without the relationship.
She also lamented the number of lives lost to domestic violence and those affected as a result of violence at home.
“If we look at it in a more critical manner, we would recognize that 55 women would have had children; they would have had sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts and grandparents. When we multiply these figures, we would have seen that more than a thousand people would have been impacted upon as a result of domestic violence. It is not only about the murder, but the scars that would have remained as a result of what would have taken place,” Forde complained.
Noting that approximately 40 per cent of Barbadian women now headed households, the former Minister of Education suggested it was not fair that many of them were being forced to leave their homes to avoid domestic violence. (NC)