|Director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Patricia Hackett-Codrington (FP)|
While many Barbadians look forward to the Yuletide season, it is one of the times of year when there is a spike in the incidence of domestic violence.
Director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Patricia Hackett-Codrington, said Crop-Over and the back-to-school period also fell into that category.
"The explanation behind that is that these are the times during the year when the girlfriend or wife might request or demand more money and as a result, some men resort to violence to stand their ground," Mrs. Hackett-Codrington disclosed.
She said some women only identified domestic violence with hitting or physical abuse, but emotional abuse was also an aspect of gender-based violence. In addition, the director explained that human trafficking was a form of gender violence.
"It is largely women and children who are trafficked; men are tracked too. Girls are sent into prostitution and women come to do one thing and end up in prostitution or end up in domestic servitude," she added.
The Director noted that there was another facet of gender violence which was not often discussed and that was ???men on men’ or gang violence.
"Sometimes, when you grow up in an environment where there is domestic violence, you become a violator or someone who accepts violence as the norm, so you can see that what happens in the home impacts on wider society," she pointed out.
Citing figures from a 2000-2007 study, Mrs. Hackett-Codrington said that of 33 homicides in 2003, 10 were due to domestic violence; and in 2007, seven out of 28 murders were as a result of domestic violence.
"The reality is that no one is immune; it could be you or a relative of yours and, therefore, there has to be a different attitude to the whole issue of violence. Normally, the Bureau attempts, annually, to do workshops. This year, we are working on a
national policy on gender. Men need to work with women to resolve the issue and we need men to recognise that gender-based violence is not worth it. It creates difficulties for them and their families," the Director explained.
Victims of domestic violence should contact the crisis hotline at 435-8222 to speak to trained counsellors. If the situation is such that the victim needs to be placed in a shelter, counsellors will also assist in facilitating the transition. Victims may also call the SAVE Foundation’s hotline – 43-ABUSE for counselling.