Men who beat What the people say about
By Andre Haynes
Stabroek News
April 19, 2004

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This week we asked people to tell us what they thought about the men's group that has been set up to combat domestic violence, Men Of Purpose (MOP). We were also interested in finding out what they thought men could do to make a real difference. Here were the responses we got:

Marcia Archer - dispatcher: `The first thing they should do is try to understand them, see what are the reasons for the way they behave. It may be the environment that they grew up in or it could be stress related. For some men it could be that they want control. Whatever it is, they need to look for the motive, whatever triggers them, and then educate them. Show them what they are doing is wrong, that you don't hurt the people you love or that they don't have to be in control. They can sit down with some of these men, but with others you can't. That's why maybe they should create some sort of programme for them, because abuse has different stages and there are so many different types of abusers. Some of them need to go into deep therapy.'

Ernest Richmond - chauffeur: `Men who hit women should be locked up and they should throw away the key... A man must be able to speak, no matter what is wrong, it's better to talk to her. His fist never has any right on her. I don't believe domestic violence is a big problem but it needs to be controlled and I think these men ought to go after young people. It's usually young people who do it, age forty downwards. They do it because of a lack of love and understanding. Many people aren't ready for marriage or the married life. They don't understand that there are going to be problems, there are going to be fights. But you can have an argument without using your fists.'

Darlene Daziel - self-employed: `I think they should set up groups to teach people how to deal with married life. A lot of people are not prepared and they don't know what to do. Some get into marriage for the wrong reasons. If they go in knowing there will be problems, both men and women will be better prepared to deal with them. Some people just need to wait and learn from their casual relationships instead of jumping into anything too serious. Some people put on a facade and you never really know them. I have been married six years and my husband has never hit me. That is because of the way we see it, when you love somebody the two of you become one. Another problem is that people don't criticise violence as they should.

There should be more public condemnation of domestic violence to help curb it. If you don't look at it now we will never know how serious it could get.'

Gregory Stuart - accounts clerk: `I think what they are doing is a good initiative. Men are not supposed to hit women but it's a problem, locally and worldwide. Men need to sit down and talk. I think communication and understanding, they are the two most important parts of any relationship. Men beat women because of insecurity, they want to have control, or it could be part of a traditional mindset. We need programmes that would show them that what they are doing is not right.'

Penny Alfred - housewife: I had a friend with an abusive husband. She made many complaints to the police station but they didn't take action. He kept going back, he said he was sorry and she eventually took him back. He beat her so bad the last time that afterwards she drank poison.

She couldn't take it anymore. I don't think the police took the reports as seriously as they should have and that is what needs to happen. It was very bad for her. They need to get the police to start taking these reports seriously. As for women, I think what we can do is fight back.'

Terry Sukhan - taxi-driver: `I'm not saying that beating a woman is right but I know some women are not easy. But I don't agree with it. I think what these men (MOP) are doing is good. I think they need to target young people, especially. One thing they can try to do is get older people who have already gone through years of marriage to teach the younger ones how to deal with things.'

Wazir Imran - conductor: `Alcohol is a major problem, I think and I think they should look at that. When a man drinks he gets very hasty and if anyone tells him anything, it could be the man in the beer garden or his wife at home, he can get into a passion.

So I hope they try to discourage drinking alcohol. Some men also do it because they are frustrated and I think in this case women should try to be more understanding. Some-times women provoke men. They need to be more supportive and more understanding.'

Trisha John - hairdresser: `I think we need to get more women to make reports to police. But some of them are afraid or some still love the men. I think what this group is doing is a good idea and what they need to do is get the men to talk, to open up, to say why they do these things because they are responsible for their own actions.'

Anthony Barker - miner: `You never hurt somebody that you love and that's something a lot of people can't understand. A lot of men can't understand it and that is why they lash out. But in the end people have to be left to their own consciences. Men need to learn to walk away sometimes... walk away and be free.'

Shawndelle Thom - housewife: `It's a good idea because men will be able to better understand other men. They can get into their minds and understand what normally pushes them to hit in the first place.

I think that groups should be set up for abusers so that they can understand why they react the way they do and get counselling for it. Women also need to encourage abusive spouses or partners to try to get help.'