Latest update March 27th, 2023 12:59 AM
Mar 15, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Sometimes battered, fearful Guyanese women do not even have the peace of escaping the long reach of their abusers, the ones who had declared their undying love. A stranger hurting a woman in the commission of a crime is bad enough, but any abuse, any injury from a loved one in the domestic setting is a horror in a category by itself.
Guyanese men, and it is not a monopoly that they alone hold, are tied to the thinking that their womenfolk, especially their partners, belong to them, are their property to toss about, kick around, and step upon. We have had too many instances of this with male partners beating and bringing down their wives or partners with fist, blade, implement, utensil, fire, or any other convenience turned into a harmful weapon. We know from the harrowing developments of too many women in Guyana being beaten to a pulp for seasons on end, and all too frequently (by any standard) some killed in their own homes.
This stalking and suffering, this national scourge and embarrassment, of domestic violence that has women as the main victims, needs a radical overhaul in how we approach these frightening developments that leave all of us hanging our heads in shame. For what is happening now is that, on occasion, women are being followed out of their homes and attacked; or waited upon from places where they seek refuge (family members and friends) and heinously brutalised, often resulting in their deaths.
To repeat, radical situations call for radical measures. One of the frequent complaints, an ongoing frustration of more than significant proportions that surrounds domestic violence episodes is that bruised and beaten victims, usually women, are cajoled into dropping charges. They refuse to testify in court against their abusers, with the State stomped, with that being the end of the matter, as the once warring partners reconcile. Sometimes, it is not the real end of the matter, because the abuser falls back into the old violent habits, and the woman is killed. In recent times, in a new dimension of domestic violence, a few allegedly abusive men have been killed by their battered spouses, with claims of fearing for their safety and self-defense advanced.
It is our position that, though the battered partner in a relationship of longstanding violence may signal clear intentions to withdraw from any court case pending, and refuse to testify, the State should still have an abiding interest in the matter. Because a citizen, albeit noncooperative, has been a repeat victim of chronic violence, then whatever backing in law is required to prosecute abusers, the legislative steps must be taken for such a mechanism to be available to State or Police prosecutors. When official police records confirm that a victim, male or female, has been subject to episodes of domestic violence from the same abuser, then some remedy should be in hand to serve as a deterrent against the violence continuing.
Many clever abusers are aware that our culture still looks upon separation with a frown. So, they slyly play on the emotions of the abused, with the opening present, to get away with more monstrous behaviour. Because forgiving and ‘making up’ are such ingrained aspects of Guyanese domestic life, the police have an uphill battle to make any charges stick. They could go all the way to court, only for some last minute development (change of heart by the abused partner) for a case to come to a swift, frustrating conclusion. This has to stop with the State picking up from there, and continuing with the matter, based on accumulated evidence and the nature of injuries.
The Ministry of Social Protection has introduced some helpful measures, but it should consider working more with, and giving more options to, victims of domestic violence, who are serious about getting out of abusive and fear-filled relationships. A new place and a fresh startreinforce the other support mechanisms offered to victims, so that life does not reduce to endless days of torments and dread.It is time that abusers understand that it is a different time, and that their actions will be severely punished, regardless of forgiveness and letting the matter drop.
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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