Dec 05, 2015 Letters
By now it is blatantly apparent to the world at large that when Guyanese go big they really go big. No jest or pun intended. Small things are certainly not on our minds. What with our high suicide rate, our high maternal and neonatal mortality rate, our high road fatality rate, our high incidence of gun related crimes and now our high femicide/uxoricide rate. While these skyrocketing figures in themselves are cause for serious concern, the latest femicide victim Melissa Skeete and the manner in which her stabbed body was treated by the perpetrator cries out for a new high in criminal punishment, and a look at factors/ antecedents that seemingly have been overlooked or at best not given the merited attention. In fact, if the powers that be in Guyana can be charged with any omission, it is a failure to examine and learn from this ongoing spiralling crisis. Call it pandemic, epidemic, systemic, endemic or epistemic, but I know for a fact, and at the expense of frugality of expression that the situation is clearly toxemic to say the least. Cutting to the chase and circumventing all afore-expressed rhetoric, permit me to pose a question that has been asked so many times before-What underpins this current displayed male aggression?
Take it or leave it, this continued foray smacks of negligent omission and mishandling from all angles. Such simplification, however, permits a closer focus on the portion of the enigma that is most interesting from the perspective of the judicial and punitive system. Has the legal system played any part in providing solutions, or does it in itself contribute to the problem? The overall handling of this problem and its continued pervasion can be listed as one of the egregious.
Could Guyana, the Eldorado of the Caribbean once again be the first country mass producing males with a proclivity to femicide/ uxoricide, and a displayed overall preference for a particular type of weapon? My question- in which era did these present- day Guyanese killer- scholars receive their training, and whose tutelage are they mimicking? If violence is a learned response pattern, then I dare say the presenting evidence bears testimony to the fact that they have learned well. In the context of traditional views of masculine and feminine roles, present day Guyanese women like other women in the diaspora find themselves in a no-win/ Catch 22 situation. A woman having more education, earning more money, or has more power in the community than her spouse/ partner, does not conform to the accepted feminine model. Such a situation threatens the very core of her husband’s masculinity, producing frustration that eventually leads to stress and murder. Former Guyanese culture taught little girls to be nurturing, compliant and a good little passive wife. On the other hand little boys learn to be strong, aggressive and act as the husband or man in charge. This scenario equally sets the stage upon which later violence gets played out. In downright honest candour, even stating the likely reasons as they appear within the radar, omits some logically necessary steps. Currently the perpetrators of femicide/ uxorcide could profit from intense anger management classes, continued supervision and possibly being listed in the registry of spousal abusers/ violent offenders. On the outside, in view of this scourge that is diminishing the productive specie of a generation, and by extension altering the face of parenthood, there should be governmental run programs where potential or probable batterers can speak with someone before they murder. It is also equally important that the schools start teaching youngsters both male and female as to relationships, breakups and how to deal with breakups.
Let me once again repeat, almost to the point of being echolaliac, there is never an excuse to lay hands on a woman, let alone take her life. The issue is not one sided or lop sided, simply talking about what the males should not do is not enough. Women’s groups need to step up immediately to the plate, ready to bat (not pinch hit) with conferences/ workshops/ training sessions/ de-escalation techniques all geared to help women ensure that they won’t do anything that would provoke wrong actions. Then and only then would our males not be the first in putting their women in the hearse. Such a goal is certainly not unattainable.
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