“October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence thrives when we are silent; but if we take a stand and work together, we can end domestic violence.”-National Network to End Domestic Violence
It’s no secret that the Caribbean continues to have an issue with crime. The impact of the drug trade are shockingly visible throughout the region, from the inner cities to the smallest of villages. Yet despite the international and regional attention to the drug trade, a second crime epidemic is too often trivialized and swept under the rug. I’m talking about domestic violence.
A huge part of the problem regarding domestic violence is the fact that it is not taken seriously in the eyes of many who have the authority to facilitate change– i.e. police and politicians. In 2012, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education of St Vincent and the Grenadines Mrs. Girlyn Miguel chastised the island’s women by asking them “to dress themselves properly” so that they “do not give temptation to our men.” She then continued to make the following statement, “we need to educate our girls, give them a chance… if they make any mistakes, if they do not do the things which are right, we do not have to kill them, we do not have to chop them, we need to have that love in our hearts.” It’s mind boggling and scary to think that this is thought process of many politicians and lawmakers across the region in this century.
The ridiculousness of Miguel’s comments is further highlighted by the fact that over the years, several international agencies have named St Vincent the femicide capital of the Eastern Caribbean.
This crisis is neither new nor exclusive to the Caribbean – as domestic violence is a grossly underreported and under examined issue across the globe. No woman deserves to live through an oppressed cycle of violence – we should be able to live freely, in control of our thoughts and bodies. Most importantly, healthy relationships are about love, companionship and support. If you, or anyone you know is currently a victim of domestic abuse here is a list of links and resources available to provide assistance.