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

Walk against Domestic Violence

Walk against Domestic Violence

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.

VillaThe 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.

Xeno
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.

DearPastorDear 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.

young victim of exploitationChildren 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.

transgender-teen

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.

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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Commentary: Domestic violence awareness: Another missed opportunity

DVIP1

The timing might not be right, I get it.
If not now, when?
This is an old story, I get it. However, there are always new victims.
They have already been punished, I get that! However, the pain never stops.
The victim went back with him. Could it be lack of support, and fear?
He needs second chance. That is important, and so do others.
The network is not the world’s police, rightfully so
There are many other things to talk about, will do

Missed Opportunity: This year several personal and business resolutions have been missed. No one for sure can predict which story will dominate this year’s headlines. However, if history is our guide, despite today’s cynicism and, and lack of trust in government and leadership, many communities should be focusing on policies and resources for several women who will become victims this year. This issue affects extended family, neighbours, schools, and friends; the list goes on.DVIP2

Late November 2014, many tuned into the Soul Train music award on Black Entertainment (BET), and Centric TV. My interest was to see Kool and the Gang receive a lifetime award for 50 years in the industry and not the glamour, fashion, music critics, and chatter about who came with whom. After the show ended, the telephone rang. “His appearance and platform brought back memories of Rhianna’s face,” they stated. What if Chris Brown made a statement that said “violence against women is wrong” before his performance; would that have changed anything?” You might not agree for the reasons outlined earlier.

Tchin

Tennasse Chin-Jamaica

Machel Montano_orig

Machel Montano-Trinidad & Tobago

However, this is not about Chris Brown, who assaulted Rhianna few years earlier. It is about millions of young teenagers, especially women who normally tune-in to watch the show. What is certain, one in five women who perhaps sat and watched these events is a victim or knows and/or saw an abused person, raped, coerced into sex, or otherwise during her lifetime. In addition, nearly one in five teenage girls have been in a relationship where a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup, according to the Washington Coalition against Violence. Even the US Army has seen an increase in sexual assault in 2014.

Domestic violence stretches beyond a sound stage, and especially in the Caribbean where silence tends to morph as the laid back atmosphere while case numbers are staggering, gushing up against women faces like the ocean. The Trinidad Express reported about 11,382 domestic violence cases filed two years earlier. In Jamaica, research has shown over 9,000, and 300 sexual assaults cases reported in the same year. Today, I also wonder what if international soca superstar Machel Montano from Trinidad and Tobago, who received an award, and Jamaica’s Tessanne Chin, former winner of the Voice USA, were given a chance highlight more awareness.DVIP3

Responsibility: These television networks also have been instrumental on many social awareness of importance issues, such as AIDS, drugs, wars, voting, marriage equality that transcends across borders. It is clear Influence 1from seeing first-hand the influence these networks have, from technology, fashion, social and political in poor and developing countries. This year more cameras should be used to make domestic violence an unconformable topic in these regions where it remains a serious issue. The implication here is not that every award function and performers are responsible for crimes committed against women, nor one should one be forced to place a permanent disclaimer on the television screen about domestic violence at each event. Nevertheless, with success comes responsibility.

Domestic violence is an epidemic. It must be treated as a national issue such as the murder rate that is high per-capita in some of the countries in the region. Although it is still an uphill battle, combined with constant images plastered in music videos and other settings that promotes a tunnel vision of female beauty. Nevertheless, more women are using their academic achievements and making a huge difference. They are now surpassing men in college degrees. Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases, including everything from autos to health-care. Seventy-five percent of women identify themselves as the primary shoppers for their households; $90 billion of consumer electronic purchases according to several studies. If she decides to tune out, my products will not be sold.

The Impact: The year 2015 should be about the possible, and not what is popular. Many more global award shows will be on schedule from the Carnival, Reggae Sun Splash, Grammy, Super Bowl, the Golden Globe, and the Oscars. Other networks will continue to search for the “Big Get” to interview another high profile domestic violence case. These “Gets” sometimes creates the wrong impression that, because the perpetrators and the victim are rich and famous, it can be fixed immediately. The reality is that, re-victimization is silent while a television rating gets loud. A powerful abuser can be charming. The victim often believes it is just a one-time occurrence. Unfortunately, many times these big stories are simple a prepared speech.
DVIP4

In an email to me, she wrote, while living in the Caribbean during the 1960s, she suffered years of domestic abuse by her first husband who raped and punched repeatedly even in his sleep. Immediately, he would apologize. When she reported the to the local police department with signs of an abuse; the police shrugged it off, and told her, “She must have done him something”. She also recalled a co-worker who used heavy make-up to hide her bruises, and a friend she lost when her husband severed her head.media cam

Far too often it seems media pundits cannot resist overtime drive for an outcome of this violence, rather than focusing on the cause. The victim’s support is paramount, especially to escape an abusive relationship. The fear of financial hardship and of losing their children, and safety concerns, combined with the lack of support remain a hurdle. Remaining silent because of shame has to be debunked. This only leads to more abuse. Domestic violence, rape, murder, and other crimes have left many hearts broken in 2014. These incidents seem to have become a normal way of life as perpetrators continue to commit more crimes.

DVIP5The Disconnect: One would hope a victim’s race, colour, sexual orientation, economic status, or nationality does not diminish this problem in 2015, and beyond. The lens by which some see this epidemic only promotes more intolerance, which is as dangerous as the act itself. For example: “what I called the location gay” Inside this gay, lesbian, and transgender community, despite the fight for equality for all, one’s socio-economic status remains a barrier sometimes for inclusion.

The xenophobia of domestic violence excusing criminal behaviour must be stopped and is extremely troubling. When pop superstar Rhianna became a victim, her Barbadian nationality became more important than the abuse itself. One lady suggested that “the Caribbean bitch probably put some roots on him. She was too much in love with this America boy, and do not understand the culture that he needed space.” Another, “He better watch himself, those island women are crazy.” And he just smacked down the Caribbean.

I get it again, millions of records sold. I get it again, it’s record sales, stupid!
Punch 1When does it become a crime? A woman who has been punched in Barbados or in Boston should not make a difference, it hurts anywhere. Furthermore, the narrative has to change, as many pundits would like to believe that only black men and the black community are associated with domestic violence cases. Domestic violence affects everyone. Stop the Violence Against Women, an advocate group, compiled a list of studies from the United Kingdom, which quantified pain and suffering costs as well as the costs of services used by victims and the reduction in economic output due to domestic abuse, and concluded that domestic violence costs people, the state, and businesses about $23 billion. Sometimes, given the slow responses to other epidemics and other social issues, optimism remains elusive.

Keeping the Focus: New events have a way of taking over the news cycle: For example, the grand juries’ decisions not indict two police officers, one in St Louis, Missouri, after the shooting of an unarmed young black male, and Eric Garner’s death in New York. The assassination of two York city officers. However, the US is not alone. Several parts of the Caribbean have seen their share of fallen officers. The Taliban killed over 100 young students in Pakistan for seeking an education, Boko Haram stepped up its attack in Nigeria, gas price at a record low, the president approval numbers have gone up, and Cuba now has a new friend, the US, the economy has rebounded, and so society moved on.

Global Reaction To The Terrorist Attack On French Newspaper Charlie Hebdo

Global Reaction To The Terrorist Attack On French Newspaper Charlie Hebdo

These geopolitical, criminal, economic, and social issues are important to discuss, but unfortunately, domestic violence awareness quietly diminished from airwaves. Putting off this subject is as dangerous, as many women who stayed in their toxic relationships for decades. Such as Santa’s wish, domestic violence focus has to become prime time like Scandal, Days of Our Lives, or Downton Abbey popular television shows. This topic cannot be highlighted if only the elites are involved. For many parts of the world, it is a major problem, and perpetrators are going unpunished and unnoticed.

Global leaders orig

January 11, 2015 (AFP Photo/Philippe Wojazer)

Finally: It is critical that more local and international artistes use their platforms to spread awareness. When women lose their trust in the judicial system, it creates silence. This year, the mentality of a few will not change who believe that women are to be seen and not heard. Gender bias will not disappear. Many abusers will compete again; show up at your local concerts. Millions of young women will be screening, and even you will dance. The hope is at least a few will show up with a picture of the abused women and families killed. Domestic violence cannot be a missed opportunity.real men do not hit

“I was guilty too because this article should have been published earlier.”

 

 

 

 

Commentary: A new look at violence against women

Commentary: A new look at violence against women
Published on September 18, 2014 : Derrick Miller

There are several definitions of domestic violence. Here is the simplest one: “If it feels wrong, it is.”

Abuse can be covered over, but it still hurts.

Abuse can be covered over, but it still hurts.

One legal definition of domestic violence: It consists of acts committed in the context of an adult intimate relationship. It is a continuance of aggressive and controlling behaviors, including physical, sexual, emotional and psychological attacks, that one intimate partner does to another. Since the 1980, many policies have been amended and have given women constitutional rights to safety and equally protection, but the struggle continues. One of the problems is that it is often seen and described as the tolerant cultural traits and a taboo, where guilt and shame makes it difficult for victims to come forward.

What is the color of domestic violence? Often the media only cover domestic violence when a rich and famous person is abused, arrested or killed. What has happened to poor individuals’ cases? Domestic violence seems to be green. Today, thanks to cameras, tapes are bringing all faces of victims and perpetrators of domestic violence from behind closed doors.

September 8, 2014, reminded us that domestic violence is still a cancer when the Ray Rice, a National Football League (NFL) player, video came out. We saw his fiancée knocked out unconscious in an elevator and being dragged out like a piece of luggage.

Within hours, the OJ Simpson 1995 double murder case in which he was acquitted emerged on almost every news lead-in. This was not co-incidental; OJ’s name generates ratings and a platform that often divides. Most importantly, his case has created more awareness calls to domestic violence centers since.

Despite the media’s recent highlight on almost every black NFL player, there are other Ray Rices still in many games, in schools, mosques, synagogues, churches, and co-workers in disguise. I am not minimizing his behavior. He should be punished both in the court of law and in his career.

Violence should not be broadcast to further polarize a society. Should we now keep scorecards of offenders to balance the portrayal of certain groups? Should we go to the archives and pull up Scott Peterson, who also killed his seven-and-a-half months pregnant wife with her only child when OJ’s name is mentioned?

Four years earlier, Pittsburgh Stealers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, was accused of three rape charges. The district attorney later dropped the charges. It was reported that alcohol played a role. Ray Rice also stated that he was intoxicated. Furthermore, can society add South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, the disabled track star who killed his girlfriend? For victims, an assault is simply that. It is not them vs us. This divide does not give hope and needs to be debunked.

dv4The Reality: Violence against women is not a new paradigm shift. I am afraid many experts and pundits will move-on soon, and so does domestic violence as it returns behind closed doors until another funeral.

We all know someone and or saw an abuse and asked ourselves why? “He was a nice person and she seemed fine.” This is simple another subconscious minimization process. In these relationships the “power and control wheel have been active: (1) male privilege; (2) economic abuse; (3) emotional; (4) isolation; and (5) minimization.”

Today, tackling domestic violence is troubling, as stratification has created a polarized and intolerant society where socio-economic inequality, haves vs have-nots forced domestic violence into political debates. Soon it will be polled for a comprehensive policy to pass Congress and other legislative bodies to protect women.

In addition, giving few people airtime as the good ones does not tell the full story. Many studies have shown that the homicide and victimization rates for black men and women are higher than the national average. These pundits only offer a temporarily feel-good segment because one mug-shot is not plastered on the screen.

Directly or indirectly, violence is a community problem such as Boko Haram’s  ideology when some believe it is only a Nigerian problem. This ideology is in the Caribbean, the USA, and other countries in disguise.

Domestic violence must taken with a sense of urgency worldwide such as dismantling ISIS, Ebola or any terrorist organization. Although one cannot order a drone strike on an abusive husband, law enforcement, policies and support have to be able to track and dismantle these abusers and give help as needed.

In the 1980s, the US Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organization played a pivotal role in a grass-roots movement that rewrote laws and battled cultural resignation about alcohol-related traffic deaths. The same has also taken place with gun-advocates. More groups needs to be formed world wide

before-and-afterWho are the faces of violence?

Domestic violence affects young, old, blacks, whites, rich, poor, gay, straight, Christians or non-believers. Furthermore, not having black eye should not discount one as a victim. Many of these women stayed in these abusive relationships for economic survival and their children’s safety. Men also get abused but statistics shows more men abuse women.

The Data: According to the Washington Coalition Against Violence, including other studies, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. These abusers are members of her own family. One in six women and one in 33 men experienced an attempted rape

The amount of children witnessing violence is over 80 million and nearly one in five teenage girls have been in a relationship where a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup. It is one of the leading causes of injury to women — more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined

In the US alone, a husband or boyfriend murders more than three women each day and every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten. This is not only a psychological nightmare for families and friends; the economic toll is extremely high. An estimated $4.1 to $5.8 billion resulted from victims who lose days of work alone, which is about 32,000 full-time jobs.

ddv

Scars of an abused Woman

In 70-80% of these cases, the men psychically abused the woman before the murder. Domestic violence cases comprise of more than half of police response calls, more than robbery, motor vehicle theft, burglary as reported. The long-term medical impact for treatment combined with the stigma is harmful.

In most cases, domestic and sexual violence are not closely occurring at the same time.

Need for universal policies coast to coast: If all crimes become a community health problem, and the no drop clause is implanted, where a victim has no control over the prosecution and it is seen as it is — a criminal act — more can be done immediately.

Why: It was late one Sunday night; I’d just gotten back from a long flight after visiting the region. The telephone rang and a sad voice emerged. The first thought was to say, “How did you gain access to my telephone number?” I later learned a friend of a friend or a friend provided my telephone number.

According to the victim, a criminal complaint had already been filed against her abusive husband. There was minimal sign that physical abuse had taken place, and about her third call for help. This time a doctor’s report was needed to make an arrest and she had to head back home to wait. The local doctor had to be paid in advance by the victim before such medical exam could be completed for a recommendation for an arrest to take place.

Few years later, I still wonder what if the police department was led by a woman with the resources and a responsive system, how different her life would be today? How many died waiting? Imagine being abused and an arrest hung on a medical assessment where the fees are more important.

Treatment Modality: The law does not have to be mandatory prosecution on all cases, but an immediate intervention. Furthermore, simple relying on only physical evidence makes it less likely one more will be killed, and continue to be victimized. A swift adjudication process is key, and treat all incidents as a criminal act, and make sure victims are empowered.

dvip02Domestic violence is not just a few of weeks of treatment sessions where the offender minimizes and refuses to take responsibility and only shows up because he has been caught. Especially in the poor regions, offenders must be held accountable. Outdated laws needs to be amended to send a clear message from the high school to the work place that this kind of behavior must be met with stiff penalties.

Change an old  male chauvinist ideology where women are defined by how high her heels are and not by their work. Both sides should work together and call out violence before it becomes another Rest in Peace obituary. Developing and promoting more women into key leadership roles will not cut violence against women overnight, but decisions that affect women will have a seat at the table.

Laws are the first line of defense, and priority must be given to victims. The outdated ideology, “She deserved it”, has to stop, especially in poor communities where the rich and powerful often muzzle the outcome of prosecutions. If this cycle continues, it only creates a new generation that will marry someone who is either abusive or becomes an abuser themselves.

dv04Refocus: Leaders must invest in young women who are consistently overlooked and treated as second-class citizens. Even when one is qualified, the glass ceiling remains active. As a society, all must move from this first view on the surface.

This mentality is one of a laundry detergent, or a waterfall dripping over rocks as it dissipates to support a synchronized balance or beautiful formation flow or a clean outfit, but has structural weakness and residues. Sadly, domestic violence is a dark secret.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Right Reserved:

Commentary: Boko Haram is not just a Nigerian problem; many are in the Caribbean, the U.S. and other countries in disguise

Boko Haram is not just a Nigerian problem; many are in the Caribbean, the U.S. and other countries in disguise

Kidnapped-Girls---Video-jpg

Photo- Guardian Online

By Derrick Miller: May 16, 2014

Let us talk: Recently the world paused and, after three weeks, many have united across all socio-economic status. They emerged and denounced the April 15, 2014, kidnapping of over 250 Nigerian schoolchildren. These schoolgirls were taken at gunpoint when armed men who promised to rescue them proved wrong. These men were not government officials, but a ruthless Islāmic extremist called Boko Haram.

First Lady of the United States, elected heads of the Islāmic community called this action barbaric; and Malala, a girl from Pakistan, has joined the call for their freedom. She too was shot for promoting education for young girls. Weeks later, over 250 are still missing as many are wondering what next.

On Saturday, May 10, 2014, I attended Howard University’s 146th graduation. Sean P. Daddy Combs, music entertainer, delivered the commencement speech. Also in attendance, Wolf Blitzer, CNN anchor. They both received Honorary PhDs.

These young girls were fresh on their minds as they too called for their release. As I watched several graduates from all over the world with pride in their accomplishments, I wondered how many future women around the world were celebrating their graduation, and what amount of exploitation it will take to be noticed by the outside world.

H.U Grad BlogIn practice, Boko Haram established an ideology of Islamist-militant rule that denounces education for women. This recent crime against humanity has proved that it affects us everywhere. This latest attempt is not new and in essence, many scholars believe, this action is part of the human trafficking that is the new form of slavery. If there was a time we need to emancipate our minds from mental slavery, it is now.

Who is watching Boko Haram? On the other side of the globe, there are several Boko Harams enjoying the Caribbean sun, lurking on the white sands and in towns from Aruba to Trinidad and Tobago, including Latin America. They do not live jungles, forests, and or wear army clothing. However, one should take a few minutes to look around, and you might just find a few similarities to what had occurred.

Mary Ellsberg talked about sexual violence against women and girls in Latin America and the Caribbean aged 15-49. She has reported that between 10 and 47 percent of ever-married women have experienced sexual violence, or rape by an intimate partner. Also, between 8 and 26 percent of women have suffered sexual violence by a non-partner as either a child or adult, and the health effects that are not limited to HIV, but other sexually transmitted diseases and early pregnancy.

Today, there is plenty of blame to go around, from the lack of leadership by the Nigerian government to its first denial stemming from pride, embarrassment, and fear of retaliation, and lack of resources, despite the warning signs, and now these parents have to take on justice on their own and some have started the search themselves.

The implication here is not that residents of Caribbean islands should scan all global newspapers and make every issue their own. Sometimes it is very easy to decrease these atrocities, and especially let it vanish from the radar and not trying to find out why these problems occur. Location, location, location, often creates individual detachment. It also can be how one places a value on any given crisis as we tend to believe we are immune from these crimes but, as we educate ourselves beyond our boundaries, it is much easier to find these problems next door.

Sex slaveThe US government estimates that some 600,000-800,000 people are taken from their families each year and many millions are being held as forced laborers within their home countries. This is an estimated $10 billion business. The average sale price for a slave is around $1,250 according to the United Nation. The practice stretches beyond the African and Asian countries, but also up and down the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea like illegal drugs.

Furthermore, over 1.2 million children are sold each year, and an estimate that 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 years experience forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence involving physical contact, and about a third of women aged 20-24 years old in the developing world were married as children, according what UNICEF and the World Health Organization have reported.

bokoWhy Boko Haram Matters: When Boko Haram threatens to sell these young girls for less than $10, it is not a far-fetched idea; it is reality. However, can we continue to allow ourselves to be detached? Often we portray this region through selective reasoning, and believe only a court can impose sanctions, by laws that are there to protect children and that can be a simply form of marginalization.

Minimization in some crisis is natural process when we are helpless, and especially if an issue has no significance. For example, what if i told you that melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, killing about 8,650 Americans in each year, and millions will become affected from fake sun-tanning machines. With the natural sunshine, there is no need for such machine in the region, Yes! You are probably correct, one’s personal responsibility can be diminished.

Alternatively, when Mr Putin, Russian president, invaded Ukraine, and families were disrupted when pro-Russian separatists groups took over government buildings and disrupted normal lives, this might not have been a Caribbean issue, but we should watch.

On the other hand, if I told you every year, about 100,000 Americans are victims of gun violence and countless others whose lives are forever changed by the deaths of and injuries to their loved ones. You might know some who has been affected, and only when one speaks up society can create the change it deserves.

sex slave storyimg

Activists take part in a protest in Tapei over Japanese troops’ use of “comfort women” during World War II, August 14, 2013.

The Caribbean Boko Haram: Is not a simple man in army clothes, it is an ideology, and the name is translated means [deceptive]. Today, the region must step back and look inside its own where Boko Haram is lurking in local churches, schools, on public buses, and town areas where young school students are being raped, kidnapped when going to school, and forced into relationships with older men. In 2013 according to  Reuters  report, Kim, now 89, said “she was only 15 in 1941 when a local official came to her village in South Korea and took her away, and sent her including others to a military brothel where she worked as a sex slave.”  This picture condemned those behaviour.  In addition, some fathers, uncles, and elected leaders are trolling the streets like predators searching for young girls and boys, while isolating their wives through emotional and financial abuse where the scars are not visual.

Not every ideology stems from slavery or colonization. Today, some cultures allow multiple wives for one man, young girls are being sold off into marriages at an early age, female circumcision (female genital mutilation). Incest is normal, and women are not allowed to file for divorce, or even drive. Sure, this region has evolved, which often makes it more difficult to fathom. Therefore, some issues seem as only noise, morphed into our sub-consciousness, as the modern world has moved on, or into a tolerant cultural attitude that minimizes itself in disguise.

Boko Haram prohibits education of young girls. However, their actions are closer to home than we can imagine. A State Department report said, “This organization receives bulk of its funding from bank robberies and related criminal activities, including extortion and kidnapping for ransom.” Does this sound similar where gang members often engage in these criminal behaviors? Some have even gotten too powerful for the local law enforcement to make an arrest or enter their neighborhoods.

dead footFrom Kingston, Jamaica, to Trinidad, several areas are becoming more unsafe, and these criminal elements have reduced tourism and even family members who are now hesitant to return. I believe such is a trip to Boko’s region,  these same criminal concerns reverberate today in several areas.

Often, just like the Nigerian government, the sad fact is that many in the Caribbean region spin and lower several of society’s problems. However, Boko Haram thrives on poor leadership, poverty, corruption, lack of education and poor governance.

Any society where trust is low, and a few reap justice based on wealth, crimes that are overlooked such as domestic and sexual violence, young girls forced into relationships with older men just to survive, unsolved crimes, poor economic policies, and educational system where only a few can afford it makes Boko Haram’s ideology more powerful.

Young-Girls-Sex article-Today, several brothels are strategically located in large and small towns and along the white sands. They have their client base from visitors to local business officials, and politicians. These people do not dress or sound like the Nigerian Boko Haram. They are church members, and will not raid malls with machine guns on a shooting rampage. However, the ideologies are a few blocks from your house and government buildings.

Try telling a mother that her child was missing from simply going to school, and she knows is alive. Although 250 young girls have not been taken off the beaches or local schools in one day; however, even one missing per day in the region will be more than  one year. Where is the outrage here?

Going Forward: The United Nations has always had protocols to prevent, suppress, and punish human trafficking. However, these laws are not adequately implemented to protect victims, and especially in cases of domestic violence. However, when government fails to delegate it responsibility to help the less fortunate among us, and continues to expose these people to risk, and fails to protect, they are just as “deceptive” as the word Boko Haram represents.

Several writers have noted protecting trafficked children requires timely victim identification, placing them in safe environment, providing them with social services, health care, psychosocial support, and reintegration with family and community.

In some respects, I am not condoning that nothing has been done, as these families endure a lifetime of pain, while governments alone sometimes lack the resources, and are incapable. On the other hand, some leaders seem worried about how they seem on the evening news and not creating policies, and stiffer sentences for child abusers.

This is a complicated task in the terrain to find these girls, and navigating these waters to get rid of Boko Haram can be difficult. It will take collaboration between psychology, economic policy, and criminology woven into what type of future they want.

Finally, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria has asked for help. The Obama administration and the international community have agreed. Today, leaders in the Caribbean needs a gap analysis and they should ask for help to weed out their own Boko Harams before it is too late. many geopolitical, criminal, economic, and social issues are important to discuss, but unfortunately most of these issue will take a back seat based on location,  and social stratification.