Letter of the Day | We must do more to stem domestic violence
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The violent series of onslaught on the female population in Jamaica continues unabated. Seldom has a month gone by without reports of at least one woman losing her life to domestic violence.
While the public reels under the nightmarish effect of these attacks, the electronic and print media seem to be relishing the opportunity to unleash a slew of sensational features upon an already-traumatised population.
Media houses compete for dominance, and it seems there is no limit to the extent reporters will go to serve up gripping follow-up stories without sparing thoughts of the implications of their interviews and reports on the family of the victims.
Recently, one story shared by a popular newspaper on social media drew the wrath of radio personality Kabu Maat Kheru, who expressed her disgust on that platform after multiple pictures of the 12-year-old girl, recently orphaned, were splattered over the pages of a popular newspaper. Kabu stated that by having the child’s picture all over the newspaper, they were further abusing her. “The newspaper ought to know better, we should desist from sharing this article,” Kabu wrote.
Domestic violence is an insidious problem involving partners who are locked in a love-hate relationship. Generally, the male uses violence, or threats of violence, to keep the woman trapped in the relationship. Any real or imagined fear of losing his partner sparks violence, which can sometime end tragically for one or both partners.
The time is ripe for Jamaica to address this problem. it’s not enough to merely highlight the incidents in flowery stories which play on our emotions.
In addition to producing these gripping stories, we should be rallying calls for the government to:
1) Provide shelters where victims of domestic violence can be safely housed while they receive help, away from their partners.
2) Liaise with the relevant multidisciplinary agencies to disseminate the relevant public education, utilising suitable outlets such as TV, radio, and the print media.
3) Provide for the effective training of police personnel who will act swiftly and decisively when dealing with reports involving domestic violence; knowing quite well that in these cases delay can be deadly.
4) Provide the name of agencies where victims of domestic violence can receive psychological help.
Domestic violence not only impacts on the partners in the relationship. Studies show that children who’ve been exposed to domestic abuse have an increased risk of becoming abusers, or victims, themselves.
The voice of the media is powerful; let’s unite and make our voices heard.
GEORGE N. CAMPBELL