Sat | Nov 27, 2021

Letter of the Day | Violence against women is everybody’s problem

Published:Wednesday | May 12, 2021 | 12:09 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Once women are not safe, children are not safe. Once children are not safe, no one is safe; for none of us were born as adults. Violence against women is everyone’s problem! We can’t keep marginalising the crisis by simply embedding it into the macroculture of violence in Jamaica, because we aren’t burying men from domestic violence or assault by women on a daily basis.

To equate male violence against women with male violence against men is folly. The appropriate comparison is male violence against women with female violence against men; and in doing so, the real gravity of this ancient pandemic emerges.

Ask the nurses and doctors, for they will tell you. Then ask the radiographers and the morticians, for they will show you. Let’s not dance around this, we must call a spade a spade. Have respect for the dead!

I love my brothers as much as anyone else, for I myself am a male, and I am not divided against my own kind. But this is deeper than an issue of our identity as men and women, it is fundamentally a matter of being human, the crowning distinction that should prevail upon all our dealings with each other.

To address this issue head-on does not mean that we will neglect the general welfare of our men and boys. But when you arrive at the scene of a crime in progress, you protect the dying party from the killing party first, you don’t equally try to protect them from each other because their need for protection at that time is not equal.

Right now, on the scene of domestic violence and sexual assault against women and children, the predominant perpetrators happen to be men, so let’s deal with that, even as we strive to be careful to not ‘cancel’ men like we’re the Golden Globes, as some persons are in the habit of doing.

HEALTHY MASCULINITY

Balance and understanding are essential as we seek meaningful solutions to these difficult and emotive matters together. Yes, toxic masculinity is an important issue that contributes to violence against women and children. But discovering what healthy masculinity looks like and finding ways to nurture, encourage and build that into our boys and restore it in our men is the direction that we need to find ourselves pursuing. Truly, much is said about what needs to be torn down concerning Jamaican males, but there is a myopic paucity of discussion about what needs to be constructed in its place.

Recognising that violence against women and men’s welfare are separate but related issues, with each important in their own right, is the best way forward for all interests involved.

But right now, the dying are in dire need of attention; so let’s allow the issues to be triaged and treated with equal validity but unequal urgency: not because of gender, but because of the sanctity and value of human life.

KAMALI TULLOCH