United Nations chides Barbados – For all its Development, it still needs to be more humane in Gender Relations: Social Care Ministry misses the boat, sees Violence as endemic to Poverty only

Alcoholism, Domestic Violence and Murder among other maladies of Humans have a common factor with AIDS, Death and the common cold – they can strike any age, any class, any race or any person so long as they draw breath. So when I was at the British High Commission the other night and learned of a new initiative from the current Government of Barbados in seeking to alleviate Poverty as a means of curtailing Domestic Violence I was rather surprised, to say the least.

(At Lectern) Michelle Gyles-McDonnough is the resident representative for Barbados and the eastern Caribbean for the UNDP

When Michelle Gyles-McDonnough of the UNDP spoke to celebrants of the SAVE Foundation’s 2nd Anniversary at Ben-Mar, she was mindful that while the Caribbean is no longer the “backwater” or “hick” place it was once pictured as, nevertheless there are too many situations where violence was sought as a solution {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Research in Guyana suggests that one in four women in a union there experienced physical abuse. A sample survey of approximately 6 per cent of women between 15-44 years old in the British Virgin Islands found that over one quarter (28.5 per cent) of women in the study had been physically abused. Out of line with the other countries, research from Suriname suggests that 69 per cent of women there had experienced violence in a conjugal relationship. And research in Antigua and Barbuda and here at home in Barbados indicates that 30 per cent of adult women experience physical abuse in intimate relationships.”

Indeed when one considers fact and fiction as a reflection of fact, there are numerous examples that Domestic Violence can occupy any level of society… If “Enough” with Jennifer Lopez has any basis in fact, then the abusive spouse in that film came from a rich and privileged family; in my own personal history as you will recall – my parents did not come from dirt-poor backgrounds yet neither were they from as Bajans say “the Heights & Terraces” yet there time spent together was far from blissful; carrying violence to a younger and yet more monied backdrop – Chris Brown and Rihanna are peaking at career levels yet the two former lovebirds had a “divorce” more acrimonious than Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas in “War Of The Roses” (another well-off couple who abused each other) and on a night which was supposed to be a Highlight for both?

Some of the audience in deep attention at the British High Commissioner's residence "Ben-Mar"

How does one equate Spousal or Partner Violation with just a lack of money? Is it to simply justify one’s Government is engaging a programme to create further grants and sponsorships? The Social Care Ministry’s ISEE as revealed by Minister Steve Blackett is a noble concept if one accepts the premise of it on a prima facie capacity. However, this is too much for anyone to genuinely swallow, by throwing money or teaching partners how to have and keep jobs is not going to make the spectre of violence go away – some spouses feel threatened when their partner can earn as much or even worse MORE money then they do! (Thank God I have never had that problem, worse is wife says even if she makes serious money I have to still be employed – sigh!)

Minister Blackett offering staid homilies to the "Ben-Mar" crowd that night

Don’t take my word for it here’s some of what the Minister told participants that night {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

ISEE is short for Identification, Stabilisation, Enablement and Empowerment, according to the Social Care Minister

Herself a survivor of Domestic Abuse, Liesl Daisley is the founder of the SAVE Foundation and she gave the vote of Thanks for the Anniversary ceremony

The Social Care Minister also says ISEE will have excellent auxiliary services to implement its initial ideas and aspirations {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

By providing psycho-social support and using a holistic approach to entrepreneurism, the Minister believes that Domestic Abuse would reduce significantly in Barbados – however, one must ask… Which Universe?

Acting Director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Mr John Hollingsworth receives a Token of Appreciation from Liesl Daisley

When juxtaposed with some frightening statistics of Barbados & Domestic Violence, then how can one genuinely see a corollary between a lack of money and a desire for knuckles over kisses? {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Minister Blackett acknowledges that the UN showed women are safer from Traffic Accidents and Cancer than they are confronting Domestic Violence – he also admitted that of all the murders committed in Barbados between 2003 and 2005; one in every five were women involved in a personal dispute with a boyfriend, husband or partner – but money and employment will solve this?

It also goes without saying in these current fiscal doldrums Barbados has endured from 2009 onwards that the island can ill afford to be directing money and education in a manner not beneficial to not only battered women (& men) but to unemployed people who also require urgent attention to get back on their feet.

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