The brutal murder of a woman in Barbados has once more brought the issue of domestic violence to the front burner. We join those now calling for modern laws to swiftly deal with the issue but we are also aware that we have been here before. Quite frankly, we do not have much hope that action will be taken, as swiftly as is necessary, but such is the tragedy of all Caribbean communities-the inability to execute policy and the tardiness in social activism
The issue now engaging the Barbadian public is the same throughout the region, where we are unfortunately confronted by those who are mercilessly, inflicting great pain on our women, children and elderly. The three pillars of our society: our future, our present and our past are under assault.
Our women are our present; our children our future and our elderly our past. We destroy them and peril will be our constant companion. The inability of law enforcement agencies to act is a major problem in confronting the monster of domestic violence. There are inadequate divisions, or in many cases they are totally absent, from the police departments. It means that a woman being violently abused by her partner has no real assistance. The islands are sadly lacking in state agencies that can quickly remove the woman from the place where the brutality is executed.
In many cases, the abused spouse is afraid to press charges because without the intervention of the state, he or she has to return to the home where the abuse is rampant. In this most recent case, the woman was violently assaulted and this fact was known to the police; she fled to another home where she was pursued by the perpetrator and murdered.
In any progressive society, the woman would have been immediately removed from the home or the aggressor would have been placed under arrest at the very first instance of any abuse. The fact that the woman was assaulted in a public place, the first time, should have made such an incident a clear law enforcement issue. Failure to imprison the perpetrator, ultimately left the woman exposed, and she paid for such inaction with her life.
As noted before, these acts and the way they are handled are common throughout the region. Women and children are abused with a chilling regularity and they are left naked because of antiquated laws, and the lack of proper facilities and agencies to deal with abuse. We therefore hope that this life would not have been lost in vain. All acts of violence against our women, children and our elderly must be stamped out without delay and we call on all Caribbean governments and social agencies to treat this as a number one priority.
We also remind those being abused, that this is one case, where silence is not golden. We urge them to remove themselves from abusive relationships without delay.