East Bank Essequibo women get advice on domestic abuse

Stabroek News
August 17, 2000

Given the recent rash of brutal choppings, a workshop on domestic abuse held on the East Bank Essequibo last weekend was very timely.

The workshop called "Women Empowerment/A New Woman in Guyana" was held on Saturday at the Ruby Islamic Complex and organised by Bebe Khan, a women's rights activist.

Amongst the speakers was Vidya Kissoon, a representative of Help and Shelter who addressed the 50 participants on the various forms of domestic abuse, including child abuse and neglect, wife abuse and rape.

Kissoon said that women must learn to deal with husbands who are abusive.

Abuse not only took the obvious physical forms of slapping to stabbing, but was also the more surreptitious emotional abuse such as casting unwarranted blame, controlling where a wife or partner could go and with whom, withholding money or food, or withholding love.

He emphasised that in the case of rape women must in no way feel guilty for what has happened to them. They should speak out and immediately seek medical attention.

Kissoon also helped the mothers understand how the abuse of children could be emotional, physical, sexual or through neglect. It was simply the failure, be it intentional or unintentional, of parents to provide food, shelter, clothing, health care, education and love and/or nurturing to a child.

Emotional abuse of children leads to physical problems relating from stress, poor school performance and ultimately the destruction of a child's self-esteem.

After the address many participants recounted with great emotion the troubles they encountered in relationships.

It was noted with some regret that there was no representative from the local police force despite an invitation being sent.

The organisers of the workshop have plans to continue highlighting the message that abuse in any form is not acceptable.

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