By R.D. Miller
Her Story/Their Story
At the beginning of January, I registered with several online news of the Caribbean Island, and in a few days according to reports they murdered six women in the region including others who disappeared. In Trinidad and Tobago, Jezelle Phillips, Gabriella Dunbarry and Pollyan Chunlesingh, and I stopped counting.
From Jamaica, Neville Sinclair attempted to escape a toxic relationship, Shantel in McMaster in a supermarket shot dead by her lover, Suzanne Easy, killed by the defense force Corporal Doran McKenzie who later took his life. Unfortunately, before you finish reading this article, there will be other victims of a girlfriend to a blood family somewhere else in the area.
Considering these murders and precedents, I wondered are the Caribbean women facing extinction not by shark attacks, a boat accident, or aging; but by the hands of their domestic partners.
Every difficult year, millions of women are emotionally, physically, sexually or economically abused or killed by someone they recognize and love, a husband or a partner. These domestics and family violence cases are more than politicians arriving at a gruesome crime scene, captured a few pictures with a victim than posting it on social media with little or no resources to follow.
It does not stop fractures, third-degree burns, lacerations, disfiguring scars and finally death. These questions should make up a moment of galvanization to change direction.
On many Caribbean islands, spousal violence remains a taboo. It has a long history of intolerable masculine chauvinistic weaving (macho) status. Many still view street harassment as normal few will admit that there is a critical problem. Unfortunate victims often remain in the shadows after being re-victimized, humiliated, blamed, and given little support, even for offenders.
This family and the domestic trend seem to be on a trajectory like in other places where ethnic, cultural, and religious cleansing from geopolitical conflicts. Many reports have shown perpetrators will use these times of uncertainty to target the vulnerability of women. Many talked about being raped, exploited, and some murdered if they do not comply with orders.
Often these victims’ stories sometimes politicized, deflected, or little condemnation to not disturb the tourist ships from docking, and keeping hotels at capacity. The headlines seem as if victims are living in a system fleeing political atrocities from barbaric ideology.
It is possible the up-ward socio-economic mobility of women and other victims have become a threat to some males because; she is now independent, confident, more educated, and that severely threatens traditional thinking where gender role defined and she was better suited or relegated to the kitchen.
Leaders must invest more resources in Community Policing to identify these troubled individuals; youth organizations, jobs training, and Rehabilitation to prompt a mental shift on how they mitigate conflicts. Often they cannot identify the criminal symptoms before you can deploy a vaccine.
Swiftly accusing the victims is minimization, and the argument that those men kill from mistrust, terrible judgment, and she should stop talking back to how much they spent on her needs to debunked. She should run, but where is she going to hide with a system that has holes, and a light saying come get me. It is always what she must have done, and not what should have happened.
Over three million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year. Some grew up falsely believing they permit it because concerned moms stayed; lack of effective responses; more democratic accountability by local law enforcement and judiciary; coupled with inadequate training for first line responders to handle these often violent cases critical for helpless victims.
The uptick in violence, especially against women’s needs critical examination as to the cause supported by policies to offer more protection and support. Despite laws and women’s rights dated back to the 1950s in places like The Bahamas, and other islands out of the women’s suffrage movements led by Dr. Doris Johnson. However, these laws seem only on paper.
More dialog is important, and not just when one is murdered. It cannot solve the familiarity of what happened at home stays at home with a call to a dear pastor, or few likes on social media while they seldom hold perpetrators accountable.
The revolving door
Poverty, inequality, and polarization make critical resources difficult to offer family or personal counseling. This additionally would allow victim services: mediation or shelters. Throughout many Latin America and Caribbean communities, according to the experts, access to these services could change course.
Sadly, experts also noted that some group intervention stay in the shadow, lacks proper staffing, closed shortly afterward, and the convicted offenders frequently require the cooperation of law enforcement to make sure they attend treatment programs.
Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence equally suffer abuse or neglect at a higher rate. This violence develops a pattern of psychological and overcoming this traumatic experience suffers long-term critical consequences.
A victim is killed by a spouse, ex-spouse, or some dating partner every 14 hours. And every 20 minutes an intimate partner abuse someone. Domestic violence accounted for about 19 percent of the total burden of healthcare for women age 15-44 according to experts on domestic violence..
Victims continue using the health care system more than others do, and for several years after. On average; less than ten percent of men killed by their female partners, while males kill over 80 percent of females.
Many elected leaders seem to suffer selective amnesia to this issue. From criminal violence; robberies to ongoing missing children caught up in the complexity between policing, politics, and the community. They seem to undertake a similar approach and expecting different results.
I reluctantly began hypothesizing given the Chinese influence on these shores, millions of dollars in loan owed as reported. Should the Chinese takeover, high crime islands to prevent women from domestic violence killings, and other criminal cases?
Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, China stabilized over 60 million in one weakened to quarantine this infectious virus according to published reports. What if local law enforcement pursued a similar approach to address family and violent women?
It will not become a structure of governing that called a police state that only works in a Totalitarian system where the government exercise power through the police. This only leads to more citizen suspicion and anger toward law enforcement. And a delicate surrounding these nations’ politics and the constitution considered.
Though reports have shown, China has human rights issues like forcing the island to learn Mandarin as it has done the Uyghurs, an ethnic minority. But importing another approach to addressing these public health issues may work since they already invested and own key areas of these shores.
This controversial practice according to scholars “who are their friends and all the enemies.” If these were to happen, violent criminals would face harsh restrictions of movements, and that alone is what many victims face in these toxic relationships.
These victims need your voice.
There is a struggle, especially in the higher crime islands, to differentiate ideology from policies to combat this malevolent that is getting worse. Maybe this intrusion may upgrade technology and training. Even if it decreases the number of children who have gone missing and later found dead as it rises each day on these shores.
The system need to develop better assessments and interventions on psychosexual behavior, mental health, and substance abuse. Often social media only focus on dense areas of crimes while rural area gone unnoticed.
Each year from reggae fests, Soca and Carnivals took over these nations, but beneath the costumes and rhythms; one loves vibes; someone is hurting from irrational decisions by perpetrators, and maybe these events should placed on hold to highlight this epidemic.
Violence against women continues to mask in the shadows in these communities. These victims need your support, and an action plan, after she finds the courage to come forward.
Speaking about domestic violence, build confidence for the next generation of awareness. We can no longer blame it on culture, where the objectification of women remains normal.
I anxiously hope more helpless victims will receive critically extra support from other women and organizations when they come forward without fear of the economic impact. Violence against women must stay a critical priority. This issue will not stop through the world as many domestic partners will continue brutally abuse regardless of the calendar day.