Thu | Jul 29, 2021

Letter of the Day | Focus on violence against women

Published:Friday | May 7, 2021 | 12:11 AM


In his column last Friday, Peter Espeut, asked, ‘Why are we more concerned about violence against women than violence against men?’ and ended, ‘We must be careful of special-interest groups that push their interests ahead of the interests of others’.

Some persons are more concerned about violence against women more than men because of the greater prevalence of violence against women in Jamaica than elsewhere in the world. Prof Orlando Patterson revealed at a virtual talk on my book, Enduring Advocacy for a Better Jamaica, that Jamaica has the world’s highest rate of female homicides. In 2017, according to a UN report, Jamaica held the second-highest rate of female homicides.

Some parsons quote the Bible, which seems to give comfort to perpetrators of violence against women. Canon Hartley Perrin, the pastor of George Wright, Jamaica Labour Party member of parliament for Central Westmoreland, warns critics, ‘He who is without sin cast the first stone’ in light of the allegations that his faithful member is the one in a video brutalising a young lady.

Perrin’s warning was alluding to the story of men who brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus for her to be stoned to death. But if the woman was caught in the act of adultery, she must have been caught with a man. So why punish the woman only. Violent punishment was directed at women only; never towards men.

So Jesus’ statement was about the injustice towards a woman versus a man, and it should not be used to silence critics of a man who violated, a young lady who has gone voiceless. Any man who beats a woman, as captured by the video, should be told to read what Jesus said in Matthew 18: 6, “If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Because some Christians use the Bible to support violence against women and rarely men, then we must focus on violence against women.

Unfortunately, many men have an Old Testament attitude, wherein women are perceived as valuable property. The Ten Commandments list wives and slaves among property owned by men, ‘ Yo u shall not covet your neighbour’s wife or his slaves or his ox or his ass or anything that belonged to him’ (Exodus 20 17). So many men still feel that they own their wives and girlfriends and will kill them so that they cannot be with another man. There is no listing of men as the property of women in the Bible, and hence we have to concentrate on literature that might be used against women.

Many more women are subjected to rape than men and the conviction rate of men who rape women is very low. Think it not strange that there is a focus on women over men who face violence. It makes eminent sense to concentrate one’s efforts, time, and resources where the problem is greater.