Men must no longer remain on the fringes of the conversation on domestic violence if the Caribbean is to find a long lasting solution to the scourge, says the European Union’s top diplomat in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Ambassador Daniela Tramacere. Addressing the launch of DECIDES Caribbean, an EU-funded programme aimed at reducing domestic violence in the region, Tramacere said despite the fact that most available data points to males being the main perpetrators of domestic violence, there was a case for their viewpoints to be considered.
“We need to take into account the perspective of men. Men too often feel marginalized in the discussions of domestic violence, but given the opportunity they have a great deal to offer in generating solutions,” the head of the EU delegation told the audience gathered at the Radisson Aquatica for this morning’s launch.
“It is important that men not only stand up to men’s violence against women but teach young men a broader definition of masculinity that includes being empathetic, loving and non-violent.”
Tramacere argued that efforts must be made to teach men to be comfortable with the changing dynamics of gender roles, as females outperform males at school and, increasingly in the workplace.
“With growing unemployment levels among men in the Caribbean and reports of girls surpassing boys in school, men need to feel comfortable in their roles as members of families, fathers and partners, without resorting to violence to protect their roles. We should also think about policies affecting men and programmes to promote their roles in relationships and family,” the ambassador stressed.
Tamacere also made reference to research findings which point to little support for male victims of domestic violence, and called for effective programmes to help early perpetrators of domestic violence.
“Research tells us that we need to also consider male victims of domestic violence as there is very little support for them, and that we need to help the perpetrator of violence at an earlier stage before they face the courts. We also need to consider the role of parents in over-chastising children, since this is where children have their first experience of violence,” she contended.
The EU official said one in three Caribbean females experience physical and or sexual abuse in their lifetime, causing “serious harm at the individual, family and societal level”.
She said the region could no longer afford to see domestic violence as a private matter, as its ramifications reverberate throughout the society.
“It is as crime that impacts us all, even those who never personally experienced it. Domestic violence is not something that can be neatly compartmentalized into what happens in the private sphere. It can affect a victim’s entire participation in society and has a huge cost to society at all levels and we all pay for the consequences,” she argued.