The National Organization of Women (NOW) is calling on authorities to take a closer look at the circumstances surrounding the bizarre string of violent events which last week claimed the lives of three women in less than 48 hours.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Marsha Hinds, the outspoken public relations officer of the National Organization of Women (NOW), drew a comparison between the country’s onslaught of violence, the economic situation and dysfunctional families. She argued that with the triad of problems all present in Barbados, an increase in violence against women was likely to follow.
“It’s not really strange when you understand the trajectory of Barbados’ crime situation and the relationship that I at least think there is between the crime situation and things like unaddressed family situations and of course the economic situation overall.
“When you get those three things together, the crime trajectory, the economic situation and the family dysfunction that is still very closely linked, it is not very surprising that women are caught up in the statistics with the respect to death,” she said.
Last Monday the body of a woman suspected to be that of Dr Sarah Sutrina, a University of the West Indies lecturer was found near River Bay, St Lucy, and another woman identified only as “Joanne” was discovered within hours at Northumberland, also in St Lucy. Following that incident, 69-year-old Martha Agatha Doyle was killed while at the Vauxhall Senior Citizens home. The deaths make up three of Barbados’ eight murders, which occurred within the first three weeks of 2019.
However Hinds, in her analysis said she believed many of the brazen killers are “problematic” individuals, whose inclination to violence was not only directed toward those regarded as their enemies.
“So really you’re talking about unaddressed issues that people have and take account for softer crimes. Intimate partner crimes, violence toward children and animals, so in that context I am not at all surprised that women would make up some of the victims because all types of crime are related and those are the kinds of discussions I think that we have to have and the linkages that we have to understand if we are serious about addressing the situation,” she said, adding that, “violence doesn’t only start with a man going out there and murdering another man. The individuals who perpetrate crime are not just problematic when they go out and shoot somebody. They are problematic full stop.”
Hinds argued that interventions are needed from a young age before the ‘problematic’ individuals develop into more menacing societal figures.
“We see them, for instance, coming through the school system and causing disruption there. Many of them are known to the court before they before they get into these serious crimes,” she said.
While acknowledging that she respected the ongoing police investigations and did not wish to cast definite judgments on the cases, Hinds added that “generally the cases point to some of the overarching concerns that we continue to try to educate people about with respect to culture, value of women and the way that we interact with each other in the society. I think that we have to pay attention to that . . . we have to understand the very deep-rooted challenges that really drive the crime situation in Barbados,” she stressed.
The issue of violence against women was also raised repeatedly over the weekend at the Miss Big and Beautiful Barbados Pageant. Tonia Husbands, Director of the pageant said in addition to the many challenges facing plus-sized women, the issue of violence is one which women of all backgrounds needed to have addressed.
“Violence against women is unacceptable, regardless of whatever the situation. I am so glad that at least one of my contestants highlighted it tonight,” said Husbands.