– As plans take shape for ‘Break the Silence, Say No to Violence’ Rally
“A lot of perpetrators were victims of domestic violence or some form of abuse themselves. They are repeating the cycle of violence and they too are crying out for help,” said former First Lady Varshnie Singh, yesterday.
Her comments were made when the organisers of the Domestic Violence Rally set for today at the GCC Ground, Bourda, held a media briefing at the Pegasus Hotel. The rally will take on a two-pronged approach, examining the genesis of violent behaviour and at the same time seeking to reduce its prevalence in the society.
According to Ms Singh, it has been recognised that “domestic violence is a symptom of a bigger problem and we are aiming to tackle this problem by going to the root.”
Under the theme “Break the Silence, Say No to Violence” the rally is geared at ascertaining the causes of violence with a view to moving from violent conflict to peaceful resolution and thereby peaceful relationships that would lend to an improved society and country as a whole.
“We wish to tackle the root of the problem and it is our aim to remove violence from our society by educating everyone. Every one of us must learn peaceful conflict resolution and peaceful relationships from school upwards so that we have alternatives to what is causing violence in our society,” she noted.
In addressing this situation, Singh said that there is an urgent need to examine music and television programmes, even as she highlighted her concerns that some of these programmes do help to glorify violence.
“We have to be very careful about what we expose our children and ourselves to.” And it is only with the relevant tools, education being the most paramount, that violence can be eliminated, Singh insisted, adding that Guyana’s population is in fact small enough to realise such an achievement.
She said that although the problem of domestic violence is a global one, it can be arrested by using a holistic approach which incorporates the use of appropriate tools, including the teaching of non-religious meditations and peaceful communication.
“We can tackle this problem head-on. A lot of efforts have been made and a lot of good work has been taking place but there is a lot of room for improvement. We all know the shortfalls in the system and we aim to back those shortfalls up by providing the solutions that are missing so far.”
And even after the rally, she revealed that workshops will be conducted countrywide in addition to efforts to collaborate with a number of organisations and interested people to provide peace studies aimed at promoting peaceful living.
According to Singh, the collaboration is intended to make as many victims as possible become survivors by guiding them through the process of recovery which she noted will include empowering them.
In underscoring the importance of the workshop another member of the organising team, Kaieteur News Columnist, Stella Ramsaroop, placed emphasis on the fact that “even one traumatic act is a difficult experience to get over. When you are in an abusive relationship it is not one traumatic act it is something that happens day in and day out.
“There is the fear of not knowing when the next blow or verbal attack will occur.”
According to her the rally is geared at letting victims of domestic violence know that they are not alone and could free themselves from such unacceptable acts.
Today marks the global observance of International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women and according to Diane Madray, the founder of the Irene Madray’s Recreation Arts and Resources Centre (IMRARC) in Cane Grove, East Bank Demerara, every effort will be made today to reach out to survivors and victims of domestic violence.
The Rally will kick off with an informative exhibition and will also include counselling and interactive sessions with Luke Daniels of London England who has authored a book on domestic violence – Pulling the Punches.
Sukree Boodram, a survivor of domestic violence, whose support was instrumental in making plans for today’s rally a reality, will also be on hand to relay just how possible it is to escape domestic violence. She too has authored a book – Break Out – which details a life of domestic violence which she was forced to endure at the hands of her husband of 21 years. It is expected that the rally will serve as an inspiration to not only the victims of domestic violence but also serve to encourage families and members of communities to work together to help eliminate the scourge of the violent societal plague – domestic violence.
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