Winners Club hosts domestic violence seminar

Stabroek News
April 15, 2001

While the police are now most visible dealing with violence in the streets, a quiet revolution is occurring in the way they deal with domestic abuse.

On April 7, the Winners Club of Vreed-en-Hoop - a neighbourhood women's group, hosted a seminar on domestic abuse. It was most noticeable for the presence of Inspector Owen Trotz who has had extensive training in dealing with domestic abuse cases. He is one of 12 police officers trained under the Caribbean Association of Feminist Research in Action (CAFRA) programme.

Inspector Trotz encouraged the 30 women at the seminar to seek help from the police if they became victims of spousal abuse. He said they should request a female officer and find a quiet place to tell their story.

Trotz also shared out a poem called "I Got Flowers Today", which chronicles a woman's account of how she was beaten by her companion who always brought flowers to beg her forgiveness. The poem ends: "I got flowers today/ Today was a very special day/ It was the day of my funeral/ Last night he finally killed me / He beat me to death/ If only I had gathered enough courage and strength to leave him/ I would not have gotten flowers today."

Vidya Kissoon of Help and Shelter read the poem, which was greeted by the women with great emotion. Many of them subsequently recounted awful experiences in abusive relationships. One even showed a scar on her neck where her husband had chopped her. Kissoon was heartened by the presence of Trotz, whom he said was organised and understanding of the issues. His involvement at the community level demonstrated that the police were committed to upholding the law as articulated in the Domestic Violence Act.