Minister Shadick laments rising incidence of domestic violence
Guyana Chronicle
November 8, 2003

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GINA --- Domestic violence appears to be on the increase, and it hasn't escaped the attention of Minister within the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, Ms. Bibi Shadick.

Consequently, Minister Shadick issued the following statement on the issue:

It is with much concern that we notice the increasing incidence of domestic violence that leads to murder and other traumatic phenomena.

Ever so often the media highlight grisly stories of husbands stabbing wives and vice versa, of young people snuffing out their lives through suicide, not to mention child abuse and the life-long scars that this inflicts on victims.

It seems that so many of our young are driven by anger and frustration that has to do with their relationship with others. Most of the tragedies we read of in the press are crimes of passion, committed by men and women who never learn how to control conflicts and whose sole resort when confronted by problems is violence. Alcohol abuse is very often linked with these crimes.

Almost every murder in the home is the culmination of a history of abuse, and this tells us that it is dangerous for any man or woman to remain in a abusive relationship. Eventually, it could lead to murder.

The tragedy is that this is not recognized by the players in the domestic drama, and though there are organizations that they can go to for help, they do not seek such help. Professional counselors and ministers of religion are some of the people trained to deal with domestic violence.

Society seems to be quite indifferent to the value of life, as is evident in the daily newspapers. Lives lost represent a hand in the sugar factory, in the public sector, one less teacher for our schools or a future leader of the country.

Whenever these tragedies occur they rob us of core elements of the society which we fail to recognize as substantial in the first place.

Conflict resolution is being promoted by some agencies, teaching potential abusers that there are other ways to deal with conflict other than violence. The secret is to recognize that anger creeping up on one and taking steps before it is too late, control this, and seek to resolve the problem with the person or persons concerned.

The old trick of counting ten before saying or doing anything when one is taut with anger is not as silly as it seems, for it is really saying that one must sit down and think about the situation before taking any action. It really warns that flying off the handle is dangerous.

If we are to adopt the one to ten suggestion we would ensure that a child has parents to take care of him or her. Too many of the nation's children are left orphans because parents, the responsible ones made decisions based on their feelings without measuring the consequences.

Many of them should think of the possible consequences on the children they would leave when they resort to violent activities that would either take their lives or the lives of one parent.

The parents or adults who lose their lives in this manner are not the only victims, children are included.

There is one counselor who says that whenever he is angry with his wife, he hugs her and tells her that he loves. At the time he often does not feel like doing this, but he does it all the same, and he says it does help.

And parents are warned against inflicting corporal punishment on their children, when they are angry. Counselors said it is better to wait until the anger goes away, before administering punishment.

The ministry is already engaged in programmes designed to counter domestic violence, and intends to give this area some more attention in efforts to ensure that citizens learn to resolve conflicts in a manner precludes violence.

The stress that leads to violence is not exclusive to Guyanese. Media reports worldwide tell us that domestic violence erupts in just about every country in the world.