Women lawyers group alarmed at rising violence against women

Guyana Chronicle
October 7, 2000

THE public upsurge of violent acts against women resulting in injury and death is causing "tremendous alarm" to the Guyana Association of Women Lawyers (GAWL).

In a statement yesterday, it said the incidents of the last three months especially, "are but only public representations of greater numbers of actual occurrences which are numerous on a daily basis."

The association said it has become evident that the perpetrators of these crimes are becoming less and less abashed about their conduct.

"This can only have come about due to a perception that there is no sanction that will be meted out to them and unfortunately many men in our society condone such conduct perpetrated by their fellow men against wives, spouses, girlfriends and children by their inaction and/or silence", the GAWL said.

The association said that while it and other organisations such as Help and Shelter, Red Thread, Men Against Violence Against Women, and the Women's Affairs Bureau are "assiduously working around the country with persons on this matter, including the police, "it appears as though there are some fundamental areas that need to be simultaneously addressed."

"We detect a fierce anger and frustration in our men which seem to be fuelled by as yet specifically unidentified causes", the group said.

"Additionally, some of our women still seem unfortunately to be deluded into thinking that the violent conduct of their spouses will miraculously change, or will worsen.

"The reality is that the behaviour and attitude usually do and will get worse if it goes unchecked, even resulting in murder", the association said.

Some women, it said, are also caught in the cycle of violence while others are of the view that they have no recourse for choices in the absence of employment, housing and other support mechanisms.

The GAWL has urged women to immediately seek help when they are "threatened by or experience (domestic) violence."

"We also challenge our sociologists and social workers to extend their examination of causal issues of domestic violence and provide our nation with up-to-date information on matters which may be influencing these diabolical occurrences of domestic disputes.

"We also strongly urge the government to move swiftly to provide tangible aid to women at risk.

"We can never afford any of the violent deaths which are occurring from domestic disputes, and their horrific consequences for families, especially children", it said.

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