Domestic abuse victims urged to seek help, not retaliateFriday, December 03, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— A call has been made for victims of domestic abuse not to retaliate with violence but to get out of the relationship and seek help.
Acting Director for Community Liaison at the Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA), Nardia McLaren, in making the call said that intimate-partner violence is normalised when the abuser responds with similar aggression.
“We are creating abusers and perpetrators, we are normalising violence, and we are accepting violence if we are doing things like that. If we are to break the cycle of abuse, we can't buy guns, wi haffi leave,” McLaren said.
She was addressing the National Training for First-Level Responders on Gender-based Violence (GBV), held recently at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
McLaren said that when violence becomes a routine in intimate partner relationships, it is best for the victim to move out of the situation.
She said that children who witness such violence are at serious risk for their long-term physical and mental health.
“If somebody is a psychopath, we move away from them. That is why we have shelters; we are not encouraging abuse. Get help and leave the situation. Some things you cannot do by yourself, you have to get the necessary interventions,” she said.
Coordinator for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Domestic Violence Intervention Centres, Inspector Jacqueline Dillion, commended the work of the first responders and urged them to continue to show compassion to the victims.
“No matter how many times one victim comes to you, always treat them with empathy. Let us not reoffend our victims but aid them in dealing with the situation at hand,” she said.
The objectives of the forum were to increase public awareness about GBV and the work of first responders and service providers such as domestic violence officers, guidance counsellors, district constables and pastors, and provide sensitisation about the first government-owned and operated national shelter for survivors of GBV.
Some of the issues addressed included sexual harassment, domestic violence, and human trafficking, with testimonials from survivors.
There was also a rap session and discussion on a GBV case study, the Protection Order, and the Domestic Violence Act.