Fri | Jun 5, 2020

Resolving conflicts this Christmas

Published:Friday | December 16, 2016 | 12:00 AMKimberly Goodall

Christmas is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year, but with an increase in domestic violence, we are afraid that some homes will not have a merry Christmas but a mournful one.

In hopes of saving our Christmas and limiting these incidents, Flair decided to share some tips on how Jamaicans can help in changing these circumstances.

According to We Change Jamaica’s Event Coordinator- Shawna Stewart, conflicts in relationships are quite normal. “Individuals in these relationships are different, their thoughts are different, their actions are different, the way they respond to each other and the way things affect them will be different. In order to live peaceably with ourselves and our partners, we need an important skill to be able to lead healthy, fulfilling lives and that skill is conflict resolution.”

She continued, "It is quite evident that the recent spate of violent killings that have been wrecking our society, is a direct indication that only few of us have developed this skill. Since teaching this skill isn’t as clear-cut as Math and English, educators and caregivers steer clear of doing so, with the hopes that society will help children to develop said skill,” Stewart explained.

Alongside conflict resolution, is the role of community in protecting and maintaining a safe environment for its citizens. Head of Corporate Communications at JCF Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay expressed that persons in the community should participate in solving these issues. 

“Many times victims do not report incidents of abuse and as a result it cannot be effectively treated by law enforcement. We advise community members to be aware of constant quarrels and fights in their surroundings and to express their concerns to the police. You can also report these incidences to the community pastor, justice of the peace or well-respected individuals in the community,” she explained.

She also suggests that if you know a victim of domestic violence, you can help by intervening. You can assess the situation and open your home to the victim to offer support. While she encourages citizens to help these individuals, she advises that you share your plans with law enforcement and request that they help in risk assessment.

Domestic violence usually starts with emotional abuse so it is best to reach out to victims in the early stages and provide them with contacts for support groups.

“I ask of the community to show more empathy towards these individuals and to record proof of these incidences when they become present. Whether by voice or video recording. I also implore victims to seek help, share their challenges and make plans to get out of the situation. It’s time to take action and eliminate these incidence,” Lindsay expressed.

In the spirit of the Christmas, let us all help in bettering our communities.

Here are a few tips from We Change Jamaica to help you solve conflicts in your relationships or relationships around you.

1. Explain the problem in the simplest language and give your partner ample time to process the problem and respond.

2. Listen to each other’s concerns and decide on a solution TOGETHER.

The process may not always be as smooth as the two-steps highlighted above, so here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you and your partner try to resolve your problems amicably.

  • Be civil and avoid name-calling and swearing. Once harsh languages comes into play, the other party stops listening.
  • Use anger as a red-alert sign to stop the discussion.
  • Resist the urge to have the last say. Our culture has socialised us to believe that the person who has the last say “wins” the argument. However, in trying to resolve a problem, “winning” shouldn’t always be our goal. 
  • Practise loving acceptance. Learning the art of accepting and valuing your partner for who they are as loving acceptance motivates us to please each other.
  • Speak only to direct examples and instances of actions. When trying to solve any problem with your partner, do not speak generally about another person’s behaviour.
  • Be patient with yourself and your partner. Learning conflict resolution skills takes time. Remember you are attempting to practise new ways of communicating in highly emotional situations.

Feel free to call any of the organisations listed below for counselling, general information and support.  

WE-Change                                                  (876) 946-2113/772-6937
Woman Inc. (Crisis Centre) Kingston (876) 929-2997 (24 hours Helpline)
Woman Inc. (Crisis Centre) Montego Bay (876) 952-9533
Eve for Life                                               (876) 620-0515
Mary Seacole Hall/ IGIG Foundation           (876) 927-2546
Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (876) 902-0021-2 (Kingston)/ 376-1645 (Montego Bay)/390-4298 (Ocho Rios)
Marge Roper Counselling Services  (876) 968-1619/968-1634