Tue | Dec 6, 2016

Saluting Ishawna for hitting back at domestic violence

Published:Wednesday | October 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Ishawna
Sherine Williams
Renée Dillion
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Isn't it amazing the way we Jamaicans react to new things or things we consider 'abnormal'? We buy repellents, we wear safety gear, and we plan large campaigns and mass gatherings for things that we are against or for things we would like to see happening in our country.

There is a disease that has been plaguing Jamaica for many years. Most times, it is evident because of broken limbs, battered faces and broken hearts. It causes as much joint pain as chikungunya and can be as deadly as Ebola. It is not airborne, nor is it spread by insects but by men and women who are carriers of this contagious disease - domestic violence.

The latest case publicised by the media is that involving popular sound selector Foota Hype and his ex-fiancée, dancehall artiste Ishawna. During a television interview where she was responding to comments made by Foota Hype, she admitted to being physically abused by him. Like many others, initially we thought she should not have responded.

We thought she should have kept silent rather than allow things to fester. She did not and, surprisingly, we found ourselves cheering her on. We were not cheering because we thought she was winning the 'clash'. Of course not! After all, this is Foota Hype we're talking about, and he is no stranger to clashing, but we salute Ishawna for her bravery.

She did something that many persons would like to do but are too scared to do. She did something that many persons would like to identify with but can't. This is because she has something that many persons don't have - a voice. Ishawna is a public figure and this gives her direct access to the media where she could publicise her plight. But many persons are infected with this disease and yearn for refuge and remedy.

INSPIRING AND EMPOWERING

We salute Ishawna for shedding light on this dark issue. We salute her for speaking up because, believe it or not, she has inspired a number of women - and men, too - to speak out against domestic violence.

Domestic violence can lead to a vicious cycle, and if we still believe that children are the future, we would know that domestic violence, like other ills in Jamaica, warrants intervention. We agree with Ishawna that the means by which one can attain protection ought to be relaxed so that it is more accessible and readily available to victims of domestic violence.

At the same time, men and women should empower themselves and be confident enough to walk away from physically abusive relationships. People have a responsibility to protect themselves from anything that poses a threat to life.

We would like to see mass rallies that are dedicated to the fight against domestic violence. This forms part of what sustainable development is. Do we have to wait until another husband takes the life of his family members and then himself?

Sherine Williams and Renée Dillon are graduates of CARIMAC. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and renee.dillion@gmail.com.