Stop treating young women and men like objects!
That was the call from the National Union of Public Workers Gender Affairs Chairman Makala Beckles-Jordan who was speaking to Barbados TODAY on the heels of a stabbing incident on Monday involving a 23-year-old woman at Country Park Towers, St Michael, the apparent victim of domestic violence.
“We have to begin with the school children and come straight into the adult arena teaching teenagers and adolescents not to objectify their one another and not to see each other as an object. Whereas, you used the word invest I like to use the word I maintain you, you are mine,” she said, adding that Barbadians needed to move away from the belief that if they maintained an individual it merited acts of objectification and or domestic violence.
“You are looking at that person as an object because ‘I put shoes on your foot; you are my object. I put clothes on your back; you are my object. I put a top-up on your phone; you are my object’.
“We need to teach our young boys not to objectify our young girls and we have to teach our young girls not to do the same. Because it is a two-way street some women and men only see each other for what they can gain and that is where the problem comes.
“If you only want someone for what they can give you it will always be a problem in the end. We must teach our young people especially in the teenage stage that they must work towards what they want and work to gain what they want, and we also have to teach them from young the signs of domestic violence. Because a lot of persons do not know the signs of domestic violence,” she said.
Beckles-Jordan stressed that the time has come for Barbadians to end the mentality of believing that if a man did not abuse a woman he did not love the woman he is romantically involved with.
“We lived in a society where it was said that if he don’t hit me he don’t love me that is a very low thought process and we have to think higher than that and be able to identify something and say this is not right I am not going to be a part of this and walk away,” she said, adding that the time has come for Barbadians to have a “bystander protest”.
“It comes on the heels of you seeing something happen to some person and you know that it is wrong and you see that the person that it is happening to is the weaker vessel or the weaker person. What I realize about Barbados is that we tend to share videos of people standing up for other persons, but we don’t stand up for each other. We would videotape someone being downtrodden or oppressed and we would share it and we would have all the comments under it but if we were there we would say nothing but videotape.
“What we need to do is to teach society about how to stand up for each other and we are only strong together and in this case of domestic violence we have to be strong for each other as we cannot afford to have any more murders in this country where domestic violence is concerned we cannot,” Beckles-Jordan said.
The gender advocate also suggested that Barbados prevent history from repeating itself with a surge of domestic violence murders.
“We had one year where we had a record of at least eight killings in this country due to domestic violence. “We cannot afford that again.”
Beckles-Jordan also called on Government to invest in safe spaces for abuse people where they could seek temporary solace until a court of law settles the dispute.
“We need to fight for a system where we have a safe space for these children to go, for adults to go and men and women to go when they are in these situations. When I go to the court and say that ‘my man does beat me real bad – I am going home to the same house and he knows where I live. I do not have anywhere to go where the system is going to cost money and at this time I know that the Government does not have any money but in the near future can they put this in place’. Some kind of structure in housing where they could place persons who find themselves at a disadvantage,” she said.