Tue | Feb 18, 2020

Love, money and honey a fatal cocktail - Counsellors sound warning on transactional relationships

Published:Saturday | January 4, 2020 | 12:28 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Shantell White, who was slain in a Mandeville supermarket on New Year’s Eve.
Shantell White, who was slain in a Mandeville supermarket on New Year’s Eve.

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

In the wake of the shooting death of a Manchester woman on New Year’s Eve, allegedly by her lover, counselling and psychology therapists have urged partners to temper their rage and avoid anchoring relationships on money.

Shantell White, a 24-year-old inventory clerk at Master Mac Food Store in Mandeville, was shot and killed allegedly by a supervisor at the store with whom she was said to have been in a romantic relationship for approximately three years.

“He was always talking about the investment he made in her and I think at one point he was helping out with some school thing,” a source told The Gleaner.

Trained counsellor Yvonne Townsend, who operates the Friends in Need safe house – that rescues battered women from abusive partners – said that for the past 30 years, she has come into contact with hundreds of spouses who have endured mistreatment from men.

Sex and money

However, she said that too many relationships are negotiated on financial terms, causing women to offer love on transactional terms and men to have a sense of entitlement.

“Domestic disputes that are caused by this will not go away anytime soon because we live in a very materialistic world. People prefer hype over substance. The $20,000 hair, the $1,000 eyebrows, and a lot of women, young and old, depend on men to supply their demands,” she said.

Townsend added that there were also numerous cases of men taking money from better-off women.

“I came across this man who was married, but had a woman overseas who was sending him money for his pocket and his upkeep, and he kept saying he hopes she doesn’t think anything much is going to happen ... . The thing is, these cases hardly ever end in violence because women are less likely to kill a man, but ... it is a cause for concern,” she said.

But Dr Janet Walters, a counselling psychologist, said that provocation in the form of betrayal and mistrust should not be used to justify deadly spousal rage.

These emotions boil over in a country like Jamaica, she said, where men were socialised to hide their vulnerabilities and not verbalise their feelings.

“Women use relationships as income-generating ventures, and this is dangerous, because you are playing on someone’s emotions ... . When trust is broken, people become vulnerable and angry, and ... and in acting on that rage, the person does something they wouldn’t normally do,” Walters told The Gleaner.

“The effects of betrayal are numerous and not everyone knows how to keep those feelings of anger in check.”

President of the Manchester Peace Coalition, Dr Clifton Reid, said that ongoing efforts were being made to ensure that individuals were trained in various communities to defuse domestic disputes before they escalated.

“If you have enough of these persons in every community who can prevent incidents like this, then it can make a difference, and so now we are seeking funding to ensure this happens ... .”

Reid also highlighted the need for anger-management training.

“Social intervention programmes are necessary, to get people to appreciate life and each other ... . I don’t think we are going to have any significant reduction in crime and violence without changing the hearts and minds of people ... . It is going to be a long road because it didn’t happen overnight, so it can’t be fixed overnight.”

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