By Romell Eubank
October is celebrated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month both locally and internationally. Domestic violence has been a thorn in our side for a long time, with the majority of instances of domestic violence seeing females on the receiving end of domestic misfortunes which often include physical, verbal, and emotional abuse and even death.
Many females do not report being abused at home for many reasons. These include: being unemployed and fearing that they might end up homeless if they leave, fearing that their children might suffer as a result of a separation, and hearing of others who would have reported and been neglected only to soon after end up losing their lives.
There is a culture of negligence and failure to protect our women on the part of our security forces, when they report being victims of domestic violence, and for some odd reason, members of these organizations have been recently contributing to an increase in female deaths as a result of domestic violence.
This situation of increased domestic violence is saddening. Women should be protected and not harmed; cherished, and not abused. Oftentimes domestic violence leads to death. This can be prevented with strict actions and measures. With the increase in domestic violence cases worldwide as reported by many news stations, there is now a dire need for solutions from the government.
The government has a major role to play in this fight against domestic violence. They can create additional women’s shelters with at least five in each parish that will serve as a safe haven for females experiencing domestic violence. They could also provide special financial and housing grants along with employment opportunities for unemployed victims of domestic violence, who fear leaving their abusive partners because they might end up homeless and in extreme poverty.
The government could also have anger management classes or group therapy sessions for domestic abusers. If the abuser should hit or otherwise physically harm their partner during or after the sessions they should immediately be put behind bars and sentenced. The sessions should also help the children so they don’t have to grow up in a broken family or have to experience extreme trauma.
Another important step by the government should be to provide immediate protection for victims. We have heard many instances where now-deceased victims have reported being abused to the police and only simple actions were taken such as warning the abusers. In these instances not even restraining orders seem to be important to these abusers. They are simply bloodthirsty. Victims who report being abused should be given police/security protection or weapons for their own protection. We cannot take this matter lightly. The money spent to implement these measures might be a lot, but it is worth it because females are essential in our society.
The government has the financial capability to help in the fight against domestic violence. They have the capital to build shelters and homes for these victims. They can provide security and can make and enforce strict laws that can combat this monster called domestic violence. The ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) along with the Opposition, People’s National Party (PNP) should work together to make stricter laws and create harsher penalties for perpetrators who continually abuse and murder our women. The government must act now.
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