Jan 25, 2016 News
While the issue of domestic violence in Guyana, has increased rapidly, Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Dianne Douglas holds the view that there are different levels to effectively tackle the problem.
Dr. Douglas was among the panel of guest speakers at the recently concluded two-day seminar on Domestic Violence
The seminar organized by the Supreme Court of Guyana and the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association was hosted at the Marriott Hotel Kingston Georgetown.
Dr. Douglas, a Mental Health Expert from Trinidad and Tobago explained that domestic violence can be strategically addressed at micro and macro levels.
She noted that while there are several causes of domestic violence, this type of violence is inevitably linked to family life and relationships.
As such, the psychologist opined that the effort should be made by every organisation that has input into family life.
“At the micro level, there is the church and the school or anywhere there are children you find family life being addressed.”
These organisations, Dr. Douglas believes are chief modes of reaching the masses with the message against domestic violence.
She also advocated for unions such as the Parent Teacher Association, (PTA) to speak out against the issue.
The PTA, she said has an outlet of speaking to parents on how they deal with conflict because the model they pass on to their children is what is perpetuated in society. The church and other religious organisation also have various opportunities to speak on matters of gender based violence.
“Pre- marital counseling another means of getting the message out.”
“The message is that there will always be disagreements and conflict of ideas but it doesn’t have lead to violence even though it is normal to have conflict of opinion and differences of ideas it does not have to lead to violence because violence is not normal or cool.” In terms of tackling domestic violence on a larger (macro) scale, the doctor said that the media has an essential role to play.
“The media needs to be bombarded with positive messages particularly, social media. The same way social media is used to get a negative message out, can be used for positive things. I believe social media is the most powerful tool to get the message out.”
Dr. Douglas surmised that “the State must take a proposition to reorient the population and educate people about the fact that men and women are equal and what is appropriate behaviour in the face of conflict.”
In his address at the opening of the seminar on Friday, President David Granger asserted that the reduction and eventual eradication of Guyana’s infamy of domestic requires a sincere and serious approach to equality and respect for women, girls and other minorities.
The Head of State underscored that the eradication of domestic violence must start with an investigation into causation.
“It matters little how many laws are enacted; the core problem will not be solved unless the core causes of domestic violence are understood. Domestic violence is a result of a complex interplay of cultural, psychological and social factors which have combined to create an imbalance of power between parties in a relationship.”
The President told the gathering which included high ranking judicial officers from the Commonwealth that while it will take time to undo decades of a culture of criminal violence, the removal of inequalities, both in the home and in the state, is a start.
He noted that while there are laws is essential to dealing with the outcome of violence; laws have limitations; the law cannot deal with the impact of violence.
“The law cannot rebuild shattered lives and broken homes.”
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