KINGSTON – Acting Commissioner of Police Novelette Grant has called on Jamaicans to stand up against domestic violence and say “enough is enough”.
“Enough is enough and we should mean it because domestic violence puts communities in crisis,” she said. “It’s not a private matter because when you abuse a child or behave violently in front of a child, that child takes that lesson and goes on the road with it; that child takes that lesson and goes to the school.
“That child, with the damaged emotions, damaged spirit and damaged psyche, cannot easily get into a healthy relationship with anyone,” she continued. “The child is not even in a healthy relationship with himself or herself.”
The acting commissioner, who was addressing women at the Jamaica Constabulary Force Safety and Security Branch Women’s Empowerment Initiative at the Women’s Resource Centre in Kingston on Tuesday, said that a major part of the country’s issue with domestic abuse stems from the unhealthy nature of relationships — especially spousal relationships and relationships between parents and children.
“From where we sit in the police force, we recognise that those two are the ones that set the foundation for the rest,” Grant explained.
Stressing the importance of a relationship between a parent and child, she said, “When we talk to kids, one of the most appalling things we hear is how stressed they are by adults, how neglected and abused they are by their parents.”
Acting Commissioner Grant said many parents further damage their children by using negative words.
“The relationship between us and our kids basically set the foundation for the family life that we want, the community life that we want, and it also sets the foundation for the life we want as a nation,” she continued.
She said, therefore, that parents must bear in mind that children live what they learn.
“A lady complained to me that community members see her with her three-year-old grandson and keep addressing him as, ‘Whapp’n dutty likkle bwoy?’ and she thought it was funny. An adult thinking that [it] was funny to treat a child that way, until one day the little boy said, ‘whapp’n dutty woman,’ and she became very offended,” Grant recalled.
According to Grant, children are valuable gifts that should be cherished.
“You get the gift of a child in your life — a human being, the next generation, who you are supposed to nurture, love and care for to take care of you in your old age. And before they reach three, dirty looks, dirty words, boof, baf, bangsexual abuse, exposure to all kinds of nastiness and by the time they are 10 their minds and spirits are crushed. And you send [them] to school and expect the teachers, the police or the church to fix them,” the commissioner lamented.
She also urged parents to not only extend love and care to their children, but to other children as well, because children who were ill-treated and neglected oftentimes, grow up to be vicious criminals.
“Have you ever asked yourself: How did these little boys that were so nice and cute, how is that by the time they [are] 14 and 15, they are filled with so munch anger and hate?. You think they were born that way? Is how we treat them and how we crushed them,” Grant reasoned.
Turning to the issue of spousal relationships, the acting commissioner warned women to shun relationships where they are being abused and controlled and to embrace the ones where there is a “mutual partnership”.
“You don’t want an abusive relationship where people can’t live a free and good life because of jealousy, because of envy, frustration and stress; because there is always an excuse for the abuse and violence… they will tell you it’s your fault,” she added.
Acting Commissioner Grant then made an appeal for Jamaicans to resolve to start fostering and maintaining healthier relationships throughout society. She also urged individuals to care more for others.
“So start thinking about being kind to yourself and to others and we can all make Jamaica a kinder place because that is what we need a kinder Jamaica,” she said.