Tuesday, March 27, 2007

VAW In Barbados

Recently, a friend of mine stopped a man assaulting a woman in the dead of night – he had forced her to the ground and was trying to pin her against a wall with his car. A day later, Barbados’ Heat Newspaper (no website available at the time of writing), a local weekly paper focusing on human-interest stories over ‘hard’ news, published an editorial (Issue #68, Friday March 23rd) relating to violence against women (VAW) in Barbados.

The editorial was in response to an article posted in the Advocate paper, dated Tuesday, March 13th, and contained some very provocative points about VAW, specifically in Barbados. It posed the following questions:

1. Why are men continuing to abuse, use violence, aggression and mistreat women?
2. Why do women allow men to abuse and mistreat them?
3. Why are women staying in these unhealthy relationships?
4. Where is the moral obligation to human beings?

Although the article does not attempt to answer these questions, I commend the author, Rennette M. Dimmot, for trying to initiate some dialogue on the issue.

She does however end her article outlining some points she feels one should follow in order to have and maintain a healthy, equal relationships:

  • Sharing caring, respect, an equal amount of give and take
  • Your right to say no to anything without being pressured
  • The ability to communicate effectively even when problems occur
  • You should be clear regarding your values and limits.
  • Non-violence in every aspect
  • Self-esteem is a basic psychological need
  • Being worthy of happiness
  • Being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life
  • (Self-esteem) is the immune system of the spirit, providing resistance strength and a capacity for regeneration
  • Feeling good about yourself regardless of class or background

Breaking the silence about violence against women is the first step towards ending it. This already complex issue is made even more so by the high number of tourists compared to the locals. Most stay for a week or less, and with such a transient population, the ability to foster healthy, equal and long-lasting relationships is usurped by one-night-stands and ill-advised pairings.

I hope the editors of Barbados publications and the population begin to have these conversations and figure out a way to promote gender equality that will resonate with this community.
- Clay Jones, White Ribbon Campaign

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