By R.D. Miller
Part I– Her Story/Their Story
In early January 2020, I signed up for a few Caribbean electronic news media outlets, and within a few days, reports about six murdered women, as well as others who have gone missing, appeared in my online feed.
Today, I stopped counting after highlighting a few names from an ever-growing list of victims. Trinidad and Tobagoans include Jezelle Phillips, Gabriella Dunbarry, and Pollyan Chunlesingh.
Somattie Keosoram, Naiee Singh Naiee, 31, an administrative officer, and Sharon Burnett, 56, are all from Guyana.
Shantel in McMaster in a supermarket shot dead by her lover. ( I will talk about her case later)
Suzanne Easy was killed in Jamaica by defense force Corporal Doran McKenzie, who later took his own life
Kim Morley-Smith was killed on Mother’s Day in the Bahamas; later, a woman in her 30s and her 10-year-old daughter were discovered dead in their home, in yet another domestic violence incident.
Six women are killed by men every hour in a “global pandemic of femicide” that is being partially concealed by COVID-19
I could have gotten any news from anywhere in the world.
The latest UN numbers show that 137 women are slain every day by a spouse or a member of their own family around the world, for a total of 50,000 women killed each year by someone they know and should be able to trust.
According to statistics, 284 women in Turkey were involved in domestic abuse cases in 2020, with 56 seeking a divorce.
So, please don’t ask me what not those over there, I get it.
Yes, domestic violence is a global public health issue, but for this piece, I simply chose these from the feed to highlight that regardless of location, it still hurts anywhere.
Trouble in paradise
Around the same time, several males were killed as a result of violence. Many of these cases are unrelated to an intimate relationship, but studies have shown that on average, men are killed by their female partners less than 25% of the time, while males kill approximately 70% of females.
According to studies, roughly 40% of the Caribbean population views crime and security issues as more serious than poverty or inequality in their countries.
There have also been reports in some parts of the region, such as Belize, that the numbers are decreasing, which is encouraging.
However, minimization appears to be the focus in order to paint a more accurate picture for some leaders, but it cannot diminish the psychological effects that persist and cannot be quantified.
Domestic violence, in particular, is a public health concern along many of these coastlines. How many women went missing, were abused, or were murdered before these latest victims, and their cases went unsolved?
Every 20 minutes, someone is abused by an intimate partner. Domestic violence accounted for nearly 19% of the total burden of healthcare for women aged 15-44, according to experts and the Center for Domestic Violence.
Unfortunately, more victims will be added before you finish reading this article; whether you are a teacher, student, wife, mother, aunt, or sister, the murder rate and violent crime rates, particularly against women, are high.
Accountability is also necessary for increasing community participation. Social media cannot completely replace good governance.
These local governments frequently lack resources, training, and a negative attitude. However, there are some areas, particularly in rural areas, where technical skills for solving crimes, and a safe place for victims could be improved.
Though a country like Haiti’s recent report by the U.N recorded 234 reported kidnappings in 2020, up from 78 a year earlier. The new cases included 59 women and 37 minors, and based on experts, most may have been domestic violence-related.
When minor cases are ignored and their criminogenic risk factors, such as anti-social behavior, are washed out to sea, they can resurface like a hurricane. (Domestic Violence-Podcast)
Shantel Whyte, 24, was in a bad domestic relationship when he shot his girlfriend inside the store where he worked. According to many local news outlets, she was well-liked, energetic, and had a bright future.
Today, it appears that perpetrators’ weapons have largely replaced discussion as a method of resolving minor conflicts. Due to a lack of resources for resolution, disagreements can easily devolve into brutal personal aggression and killings.
As previously reported, she requested help from authorities on numerous occasions but dismissed it as a family matter. Even when there are male victims, they must often demonstrate strength and no venerability.
The game of assigning blame
Rapidly accusing the victims is a form of minimization, and the argument that those men kill out of mistrust and poor judgment, and that she should stop complaining about how much they spent on her, should be refuted.
Even more troubling is some people’s attitude toward re-victimization as if they deserved it.
In our society, these discussions frequently begin with an interrogation of the victim.
“She had the option of fleeing the situation.”
What was the source of her abuse? ….. Why didn’t she just leave?
She should flee, but where will she go in a system riddled with flaws designed to shield their vulnerability? It’s always about what she should’ve done rather than what should’ve happened.
But, it appears, no one ever asked the perpetrator, whether in jail, school, church, or the community, why he or she chose violence.
The silence is deafening
Selective amnesia often sets in, rendering it ineffective as a strategy; neither minimization nor photo-ops empathy is a strategy; tweets do not elicit fundamental support, and frequent comparison to another country does not provide an action.
Despite the prevalence of violence, there have been numerous reports of mentally disturbed or racist individuals with easy access to high-powered weapons killing or targeting innocent victims. Regardless of location, the reported one or two killings per day on these shores adds up.
A surprise visit to a victim’s home is often beneficial, but without resources or a quick policy that focuses on getting to the root of the problem, including women’s concerns and the community, it is not a long-term solution.
We will look for solutions where local concerns appear to be drowned out, as it appears that the same record is being played over and over again. Furthermore, potential serial killers must be apprehended in these communities in order to solve these atrocities.
As I previously stated, how many women went missing, were abused, or were murdered prior to these most recent victims, and how many of these cases went unsolved?
Far too frequently, and in a consistent pattern, “The police investigation is still ongoing, and the families of the vulnerable victims are still looking for answers. When is it? “Where does the next button stop along these and other coastlines?
Today, I wondered if Caribbean women, like those in other poor and developing regions with few if any resources are on the verge of extinction, not as a result of shark attacks or aging, fleeing atrocities, but as a result of the actions of their domestic partners.
How many young lives have been lost? You could be the next teacher, cop, doctor, social worker, doctor, counselor, or even prime minister.
These perpetrators appear to have taken out life insurance policies and, in order to cash them in, have resorted to violence.
Changing an old ideology
Every year, thousands of women are abused or killed by someone they know and love, such as a husband or partner, on
Though laws and women’s rights movements in the region date back to the 1950s, such as in The Bahamas, led by Dr. Doris Johnson. Several of these laws, however, are out of date and may need to be updated to address current concerns.
The rise in violence, particularly against women, necessitates a critical examination of the underlying causes, as well as policies to provide greater protection and support.
Emotional, physiological, physical, financial, sexual, and stalking abuse do not go away overnight or due to incarceration. Treatment for offenders is critical, as is training for first responders.
This will require a shift in some long-held beliefs. Many victims, as well as those tasked with their care, may attempt to divert attention or minimize the situation.
Traditionalists, also known as the “silent generation,” were raised to be seen but not heard to save their family image.
Even though studies have shown that men are also abused, but far less. Today, I wonder what role masculinity play that ties back to colonialism for survival. We cannot ignore this tragic history regarding the dehumanization of black women who were relegated to the kitchen. Unfortunately, that mentality still reverberates despite the upward by women globally.
Domestic violence is more than a political ploy to force a change of course.
Domestic and family violence cases are more than politicians arriving at a gruesome crime scene, taking a few photos with a victim, and then posting on social media with little or no resources to back them up.
Domestic violence is still considered taboo in some cultures on many Caribbean islands, as well as in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. It has a long history of male chauvinistic (macho) status.
Many people still believe that street harassment is normal, and few will admit that it is a serious issue. Unwanted touching, assault, kidnapping, and death are all common outcomes of this behavior.
Unfortunately, many victims remain in the shadows after being re-victimized, humiliated, blamed, and offered little support, even when the perpetrators are present.
The upward socioeconomic mobility of women and other victims may have become a threat to some males.
Perhaps because she is now more independent, self-assured, and educated, which calls into question traditional thinking in which gender roles were defined and she was better suited or relegated to the kitchen.
This violence appears to be following a pattern similar to other instances of ethnic, cultural, and religious cleansing as a result of geopolitical conflict.
According to human rights reports, women are vulnerable, and if they do not obey orders, many are molested, brutalized, or killed.
The cycle, the disconnect, and the long-term consequences
Many children who grow up in homes where there is domestic violence are at a higher risk of being abused or neglected. This violence establishes a psychological pattern, and overcoming this traumatic experience has long-term negative consequences, with some individuals becoming abusers.
Every year, over three million children are exposed to domestic violence in their homes. Some children were raised with the mistaken belief that everything would be fine as long as their worried mother stayed. According to the World Health Organization and the United Nations,
However, the cycle continues for helpless victims due to a lack of effective responses, resources, and often accountability on the part of local law enforcement and the judiciary, as well as insufficient training for first-line responders to handle these violent cases.
Poverty, inequality, stigma, and polarization make it difficult to provide critical resources like family or individual counseling. With intervention, treatment, victim services such as mediation, or shelters would be possible.
Experts believe that access to these services would alter the course of many Latin American and Caribbean communities.
Unfortunately, experts have noted that some group interventions remain hidden, lack adequate staffing, and close quickly, and convicted offenders frequently require the cooperation of law enforcement to ensure they attend treatment programs.
Victims continue to use the healthcare system more frequently and for a longer period of time than others.
On top of that, vigilant justice does not foster vibrant communities. It merely reveals a deeper, systemic issue in the community, and people must speak up to reduce violence. “Report anything that appears to be wrong.”
Getting to the root of the problem
Today, it appears that some elected officials have selective amnesia when it comes to violence, ranging from robberies to ongoing student disappearances. They are frequently entangled in the complexities of law enforcement, politics, and community.
The stories of these victims are frequently politicized, deflected, or given little condemnation by elected officials in order to keep tourist ships from docking and hotels from filling up. Furthermore, some may be unintentional victims of the impact and are too afraid to speak out.
This is more than a couple of erroneous tweets with a skewed sense of empathy. They should mobilize more in order to demand change and accountability, because “we are going to” does not prevent fractures, third-degree burns, lacerations, disfiguring scars, and, in many cases, death.
To identify troubled individuals, leaders must invest more resources in community policing, treatment programs, victim services, and youth organizations, as well as in job training and rehabilitation to induce a mental shift in how they resolve conflicts.
These local systems must be able to identify criminal symptoms using psycho-sexual assessments before deploying a vaccine.
It’s frequently a 48-hour news cycle, guilt, social media bliss, and promises made as if governance could be done in a few characters. Some of your leaders should go back and read their social media promises and plans, with little or no support for victims’ follow-up.
Can only dear Pastor help?
More dialogue is required, and not just after someone has been murdered. It cannot resolve the familiarity of what happened at home by staying at home with a phone call to a dear pastor or a few social media likes while perpetrators are rarely held accountable.
Confronting violence against women requires ensuring that their community continues to be a great place to live, work, and play, with the ability to provide resources to underprivileged victims, such as food and personal care items, as well as a safe place for victims to tell their stories without being re-victimized.
Part II– Accountability in the Chinese manner may aid in the reduction of this senseless violence.
In recent years, studies and publications have documented China’s growing global presence, with new inroads into the Caribbean islands and Africa. As a result of Chinese companies and other recent investments, they have witnessed a cultural explosion.
These private investments were said to pave the way for increased economic growth and security.
According to published reports, China has stabilized more than 60 million people in one weakened state since the Coronavirus outbreak. What if local law enforcement approached family violence and violent women in the same way?
Will the Chinese takeover of public safety operations on high-crime islands save more women from domestic violence killings and other criminal issues?
Given the Chinese influence on these shores, I began to speculate reluctantly. After consulting with a few experts and friends, I entertained some deep thoughts and investigated this trend. They may offer a more robust public safety strategy to protect their investments.
Furthermore, there is skepticism that the region will adopt a governing structure known as a “police state,” which can only function in a Totalitarian system in which the government wields power through the police. Citizens’ distrust and anger toward law enforcement will only grow as a result of this.
If this idea is implemented, it will require a delicate balancing act involving the politics and constitutions of these countries.
This idea is less likely because reports show that China has human rights issues, such as forcing Mandarin on ethnic minorities such as the Uyghurs.
This contentious practice, according to academics, “who are their friends and all their enemies.” If this were to happen, violent criminals would face severe movement restrictions, just as many victims do in these toxic relationships.
However, because they have already invested in and own key areas of these shores, bringing in another approach to addressing these public health issues may be feasible.
Even if it reduces the number of children who go missing or are later discovered dead, it may be worthwhile to consider. This intrusion could lead to better technology and training.
These victims require your assistance.
There is a struggle to separate ideology from policies to combat this malevolent that is becoming more virulent, particularly on the higher crime islands.
Violence against women is still prevalent in many of these communities. These victims deserve your support and an action plan once she gathers the courage to come forward.
Every year, Reggae Fests, Soca, Afro Beats, Jazz, Latin Rhythms, and Carnivals took over these nations, but beneath the costumes and rhythms, someone is hurting from irrational decisions by perpetrators, and perhaps these events should be paused to highlight this epidemic.
The system’s assessments and interventions in the areas of mental health and substance abuse must be improved. Social media frequently focuses only on high-crime areas, leaving rural areas unnoticed.
By discussing domestic violence, you can instill confidence in the next generation of advocates. We can no longer blame it on culture, where women’s objectification is still tolerated.
Let’s keep talking about it.
I hope that by coming forward without fear of financial repercussions, more helpless victims will receive critical additional support from other women and organizations.
Not only during election seasons, but all year long, violence against women must be a top priority.
This issue will not go away because many domestic partners will continue to brutally abuse and kill regardless of the day of the week.