It is a stinging slap in the face for all victims of domestic violence and a cruel joke on society when the courts of Guyana give convicted domestic violence abusers ‘slap on the wrist’ sentences.
These days, almost every politician, high official, every religious leader and ‘do-gooder’ in society is bawling about domestic violence. Even President David Granger has given his two cents on this issue. He is right to talk about it; all of them are right to speak out. But the result of many domestic violence cases in our courts makes nonsense of such talk and turns their utterances into outbursts of hot air.
The nation does not need a lecture from me or anyone else to know about the enormously evil impact of domestic violence on society and the vicious cycle of abuse it creates from generation to generation.
Evidence of the upheaval and trauma such abuse causes in victims’ lives, in communities and in the country is all around, including our painful personal observations of abusers and victims in our midst.
Mere words cannot adequately express the enormous pain and suffering inflicted on victims of domestic violence, who are usually vulnerable women and children, by perpetrators who are usually sadistic adult males. Since the systematic torture of domestic violence victims is often unreported and unpunished, the least we expect is justice to be done in the minority of cases that actually reach court.
I can state categorically that this is not happening in Guyana.
Many domestic violence victims are victimised several times over at every step of the nation’s weak and heavily compromised justice system. I can give literally dozens of examples, but a recent case at the court stands out as a classic example of the justice system failing miserably while victims of domestic violence suffer endlessly.
The facts of the case are on public record; I did not make them up. Therefore, I am calling on all media houses to investigate the bizarre case of a prominent Guyanese citizen who has lots of money, or makes it appear so, who appeared before a court recently and was convicted on a charge related to domestic violence.
I want the media’s court reporters to check their sources and verify that the presiding magistrate in this case only fined the filthy-rich convicted abuser a pittance for slaking his thirst for domestic violence and possibly causing permanent damage to the psyche of his victim.
The media should also check with the police, neighbours, etc. to find out if this same convicted abuser publicly beat and humiliated his ex-wife, and if he recently kidnapped her and their children, brutalized them and put a loaded gun to the children’s heads. Let the media verify if the victims were only released after this unspeakable act was exposed on Facebook and other social media. Check Facebook; it is there.
I was brought up to believe in the old saying, “justice must not only be done, it must also appear to be done.” But my faith in this saying has been severely shaken by the outcome of the recent case and several other cases of domestic violence in local courts in which, as far as I can see, justice was not done and definitely did not appear to be done.
What makes this so despicable, painful, disgusting and annoying to me and others who are genuinely committed to fighting against domestic violence, is the fact that Government and various human rights agencies in Guyana are spending countless millions of dollars every year to combat this evil, only for the courts to slap victims’ faces by giving convicted abusers ridiculously light sentences.
It makes no sense for the President and others to talk endlessly about getting rid of domestic violence if the police are not on board and the courts are not on board. In this scenario, talk is not going to solve anything. The only thing that will help is to hold the magistracy and judiciary accountable for injustices inflicted by courts on victims of domestic abuse.
Cruel persons with money who are bereft of principles and dignity can pour out money and compromise some police officers and some in the judicial process. I always say judges and magistrates are lawyers, and lawyers usually like to collect fees.
I once saw a prosecutor who is known to be dynamic and eloquent in court suddenly transform herself into a meek, lost, mumbling imbecile when she had to prosecute a particular case involving a wealthy family. Everyone knew she deliberately underperformed to help the rich family win the case because she was compromised. Do not underestimate the people sitting in a court!
Cruel beasts with lots of money who have a depraved appetite to rape and torture women, little girls, little boys and even babies are getting a sick message loud and clear from our courts—even if their crimes are reported and they go to court they will get off with a slap on the wrist. Until this atrocity is eliminated, there will be no human rights, no justice and no peace in Guyana.
Roshan Khan Snr.
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