Wed | Feb 19, 2020

Use public education to fight domestic violence

Published:Monday | January 20, 2020 | 12:24 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

In its 2009 study on violence, titled ‘ Changing Cultural and Social Norms that support Violence’, The World Health Organization looked on ways in which socialisation and culture impact on violence. It was found that our social experiences can negatively affect our psyche and, over time, restructure our culture.

Early exposure to violent experiences, such as corporal punishment, witnessing of violence in the family, and/or witnessing violence in the media can result in the individual becoming desensitised to violence. Research also suggests that these individuals are then more prone to perpetrate violence.

Recently, we’ve seen an increase in fatalities relating to domestic violence. The public’s response is always the same — there is an overwhelming outcry, they lament for a few day, they push for more to be done to address this monstrosity, after which they return to their quiet state, only to have the situation repeated when a next woman is killed. It begs the question then, how serious are we in tackling domestic violence?

If we’re serious about tackling domestic violence, we must not relent in our attack. One of the tools that can assist in reducing this scourge is continuous public education. Programmes must be devised and instituted to raise the level of public awareness regarding that subject.

PROGRAMMES NEEDED

The information disseminated must include:

n Recognising early signs of abuse.

n How to access help — in the form of counselling as well as protection. A hotline for counselling and help must be made for both genders.

Public information can be shared via:

n Mass media — television, radio and the Internet should be used to impart information in the form of advertisements, role plays and dramatizations, panel discussions, and educational talks.

n Lessons about domestic violence should be taught in the workplaces, schools, and churches.

n Posters and banners geared at raising awareness on domestic violence should be placed in strategic points in public places and on public passenger vehicles.

n Companies and civic groups that sponsor teams in sports should adopt a more hands-on approach by ensuring that not only their logos are emblazoned on team jerseys, but that they bear the anti-domestic violence slogans as well.Violence is a learnt behaviour, we become conditioned by repeated actions. Education must be used to reshape our minds and subsequently our culture.

We must not relent in our attack. Don’t wait for the next woman to be killed, keep fighting domestic violence non-stop.

KOFI TAFARI