Every third Georgetown woman is domestic violence victim

Guyana Chronicle
April 19, 2000

ONE in every three women in Georgetown are victims of domestic violence and, as a result, experience physical and psychological symptoms, a study has revealed.

According to those who undertook the Red Thread analysis, it was done on a random design in a multi-level cluster because that was the most appropriate way of achieving a sample representative of the targeted population.

Of the 360 women interviewed, the majority are currently in a relationship where they suffer abuse; fifty-three per cent experienced psychological effects such as depression and anxiety and seven per cent sustained physical hurt, including cuts, bruises and broken bones.

Twenty of the women still in similar circumstances had to seek medical treatment and 197 respondents were previously involved for long terms, with 41 per cent of them having experienced physical pain with a former partner.

Thirty-two per cent endured verbal abuse by an ex-spouse and 12 per cent had been sexually abused before.

Another revelation is that apart from the sexual statistics, the victims came through higher levels of physical that verbal abuse from their past rather than with the present paramours.

Incidents of family violence occur more frequently in certain parts of Guyana, like in poor urban areas and where Afro-Guyanese dominate, in that order and the majority of interviewees perceived family violence to be very common in this country, the researchers disclosed.

They defined domestic violence as any act, including threats of acts, committed by a person with whom the victim/s has or had a conjugal, love or sexual relationship, or one of dependence which impairs the life, body, psychological well-being or liberty of a woman and or children.

They also reported that more than 30 per cent of those who responded said they experienced abuse as children.

A team from the Red Thread organisation, which began the survey in 1998 under the theme `Women Researching Women', presented the findings Monday at Hotel Tower, Main Street, also in the city.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded the project and participants were drawn from Linden, West Coast Demerara, West Coast Berbice and the capital.

British High Commissioner to Guyana, Mr Edward Glover commended the work of Red Thread Women's Development Programme and promised to assist with more projects in future.

United Nations (UN) Resident Representative here, Mr Richard Olver and Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) representative, Dr Bernadette Theodore-Ghandi, too, pledged monetary aid to Red Thread.

The presentation of the research results coincided with the launching of a publication entitled `Gender, Ethnicity and Place; Women and identities in Guyana' authored by Linda Peake and Alissa Trotz.

The book highlights the different situations of Indo and Afro Guyanese in rural areas and related issues.

Copies of the Peake/Trotz compilation were handed over to representatives of the National Library, University of Guyana (UG) Women's Studies Unit, UG library and Women's Documentation Centre, which is an arm of the Women's Affairs Bureau and Caribbean Association For Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA).