Commentary: Domestic Violence and Homophobia: A call for more purple over the blue Caribbean shores:

by D. R. Miller

Beyond October: One week ago, members of the public safety community, treatment providers, and advocates came out in purple for a 5k annual run against domestic violence. This warm beautiful day navigating a busy trail, a gay couple holding hands smiled and nodded in encouragement to finish. Their own plight, struggles, and ones who have been lost to crime from decades of irrational hatred and fear from heterosexual groups or HIV/AIDS has come a long way as society has evolved.

As this winter approaches, fewer footprints tread the trails, the changing leaves will disappear as hibernation sets in until the next 70-degree weather for purple to re-emerge not because of fear, but avoiding the brutal cold weather trapped between the high rise buildings corridors. Despite strides for equality, more needs to be done, especially where it is difficult to wear an extra layer of heavy clothing even to disguise one’s identity or the scars from an abuse where 70 degrees can be scorned as cold day.

Along these beautiful Caribbean shores, more purple colour and trail walks are needed to help victims escape their trapped abusive relationships, spread awareness, and generate more resources to support change in the ongoing waves of domestic violence and the history of homophobia.

Addressing domestic violence and homophobia under the same subset is not a farfetched idea. It encompasses a correlated connective feeling, attitudes, and action. First, it is a mechanism to inform and focus. Second, carry out more intervention to cut both domestic and family violence. Third, respect differences. Finally, stop the paradoxical stance of minimization and the comparison attitude to other nations.

Where you have sexual assault, exploitation, child trafficking, and targeting of people for who they are, it accompanies domestic violence, which at times leads to death. Violence creates a pattern of psychological, economic impact, especially when children are involved. Overcoming this traumatic experience has long-term critical consequences.

The luscious greenery, breathtaking sunsets and blue water for a liberated vacation where many of us are culturally connected, but outside these villas victims are routinely teased, bullied, and frequently killed from ignorance, even by straight perpetrators who may have their own struggles with homosexual tendencies, as studies have shown.

Structural and mental deficiencies continue to create a roadblock. It not only limits overall economic growth, and opportunity to further highlight these colours without fear, it causes discrimination for employment and polarization that has washed away promising footprints to eradicate violence.

“All people deserve to live with dignity and respect, free from fear and violence regardless of their gender and sexual orientation.” An excerpt from a proclamation by President Obama on the 29th day of May 2015 for LGBT Pride.

The Impact: Domestic violence can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationships anywhere. They too are abused, and yet forced to stay silent in this epidemic. The economic, social, and moral consequences still lingers.

There are plenty of definitions of domestic violence, and homophobia; I will not force you to read one again. Substantially, it is what I see as a condemnation where masculinity and femininity are defined and thus has reduced objectivity in the rule of law and, without basic rights, one becomes powerless.

If it feels wrong, it is

These frightening and terrorizing attitudes are not simply the external scars. According to leading scholars, even when disputes are being mediated, families are still at a high risk. With limited resources in these rural areas, victims remain unprotected after court and sometimes death still occurs. Harassment through the court system in these male-dominant systems gives an opportunity to coerce in accepting lower penalties

When society begins to discuss strong movements and support groups to help victims reclaim not only their dignity, legal reform to reduce crime, and educate others in understanding the motivation, then purple will find its true place and the vulnerable such as a child will not be lost.

Disparities: This is not simple morality and life expectancy. A xenophobia pattern still exists in purple (victims). Socio-economic status, race, and cultural identifiers of violence continue to plague poor communities. It intimidates victims against coming forward and only confirms the victim’s taboo of the moral consequences.

A poor gay staff abused in Africa, or one who lives under a bridge in Jamaica life is as important a Rihanna publishing scars from abuse she received during her domestic case. Sadly, her culture became the subject and not the abuse. A victim who has been punched in Barbados or Boston should not make a difference: It hurts anywhere.

No one is immune from violence

Re-victimization can force a victim to rationalize between love and violence, blaming oneself and thinking he or she can change the other’s violence. Those uninvited visits, being tracked by global positioning satellites (GPS) is not love, it is simple stalking.

The dark side: Some attribute slavery’s dark period and the dehumanization of black women relegated to the kitchen that still haunts as a factor to how some women are treated today. Despite women’s accomplishments, a few still believes their place is in the kitchen where she should be pregnant, and homosexuality is a sin and morally wrong.

However, abusing one’s partner over a disagreement, and treating one as property while preaching God is love from the pulpit, while dictating who should be loved is not much different from 16-century colonial laws on exclusion and imperialism.

Assessment: The power and control wheel is seldom talked about, as many scholars argued when her only meal depends on if he comes home that evening creates an appropriateness to stay in the abuse.

Often the practitioners only see the symptoms and not the cause.

First responders are key to the survival of these victims: Not acting due to the lack of a physical scar is problematic. Access to emergency services should have a plan when the call ends and the authorities leave.

Dear pastor radio show is not the only solution to safety

The lack of intervention only creates more victims. Aunt Suzie up the road can provide a temporary shelter, but she too hates gays and lesbians from her parents’ views. She now lives in an abusive relationship and never discusses it because of fear, shame, and more abuse, and how it looks on the family.

Few Data: A leading international journal noted that domestic violence accounted for about 19 percent of the total burden of healthcare for women age 15-44. They use the health care system more than others do, and for several years after, even when the violence has stopped.

Men are victims of nearly three million physical assaults in the USA.

One in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime

More than three million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year.

Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at a higher rate.

The World Bank, about 20 years ago, highlighted that, in Barbados, about 30 percent of women aged 20 to 45 reported having been battered. In the British Virgin Islands, 29 percent of 330 women surveyed by the Chief Minister’s Office reported physical abuse by partners. In Jamaica, police reported 39 percent of murders committed in 1998 involved domestic disputes. In Trinidad and Tobago, incest reports increased by more than 200 percent in 1998, according to a local coalition on domestic violence.

Today, sexual abuse, domestic violence and requests for restraining orders are much higher in the thousands. Domestic violence costs people, the state, and businesses about $23 billion based on several advocate studies that quantified pain and suffering costs as well as the costs of services used by victims and the reduction in economic output.

Inside the LGBT community, there are several reports of an increase in murders since 2010. Youth and young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 years old were 2.41 times as likely to experience physical violence.

The new monument designed by Anthony Goicolea will honor the LGBT community and victims of the Orlando massacre. (Courtesy of the artist and the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo)

Anti-Homophobia day celebration at the Fondation Serovie in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo by Katie Orlinsky

Looking in: When few selected media politicize domestic violence and homophobia, including conferences on violence open to a selected few, what people hear often mistakes loud, mindless, opinions with leadership. These issues cannot be used for political gains when several reports have shown that the region still lacks policies to protect victims in general.

Today’s violence along the shores is not simply due to poverty alone, but decades of unresolved social issues, where even the offender has been a victim and struggling resources for treatment, and accountability. Reporting crime should not put victims at much higher risk.

See you at the next walk or run, or even standing under a banner for safety for those still only searching for survival, and the soul of their community.

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