Thu | Aug 6, 2020

We need conflict-resolution skills

Published:Wednesday | August 18, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

Recently the media reported two incidents of vicious domestic murders in which females were killed by their male partners (one's throat was slit and the other was stabbed to death with an ice pick). The prevalence of such vicious acts of domestic violence is proof that we as Jamaicans have poorly developed conflict-resolution skills.

Sadly, such incidents are not uncommon, despite the presence of the Domestic Violence Act. This Act was intended to protect (heterosexual) partners from spousal abuse through provisions for, among other things, protection orders (which prohibit a dangerous spouse from entering the space of a threatened spouse) and occupation orders (which allow a threatened spouse to continue occupying disputed premises).

Yet, even with the failings of the Act to curb domestic violence in Jamaica, same-sex couples are left out of even the minimal protections it provides. The Act does not extend to homosexual couples and, yet, we are surprised why violence in these relationships ends up making front-page news.

Endangered partners in same-sex relationships simply can't get protection from the law and the result is often fatally tragic.

Same-sex couples are no more violence-prone than their straight counterparts. The difference is that the law offers protection to heterosexuals caught in dangerous domestic situations while ignoring same-sex couples. This constitutes, inter alia, a breach of the right of homosexuals to equal protection of the law. It is high time the Government put an end to such deadly discrimination by amending the Domestic Violence Act to include same-sex couples.

I am etc.,

Maurice Tomlinson

Montego Bay