From protector to predatorMonday, April 19, 2021
While I never needed to think twice about writing this letter, I had a hard time deciding how to start.
You see, as a woman, I feel I am a member of an endangered species here in our Jamaican society. When did we get to the point at which women, seemingly, no longer have the right to reject abuse and ill treatment in a relationship? Or when did we get to the point at which attempting to guard your worth as a woman is akin to a death sentence?
What is the future of our nation if each time a woman decides to walk away from a toxic relationship she is attacked and victimised? And what signals are we sending our girls and boys, the men and women of tomorrow? Have the men who should be looking out for our safety now become the ones we need to be looking over our shoulders for in fear? Have our protectors become our predators?
And, what kind of society are we building if the home is now to be perceived as the most unsafe place for women? Do we not recognise, as a nation, that this spate of violence against women is a diabolical and cruel attack on the future of our children, our homes, our families, our moral values as a nation, and our society itself?
According to a United Nations study, home is now perceived as the most dangerous place in the world for women, as 58 per cent of women killed worldwide died at the hands of partners or family members. Studies conducted locally and published in the 2017 Knowledge, Attitude, Belief and Practice (KABP) report, which covers intimate partner violence, indicated that “nearly 15 per cent of all women in Jamaica, aged 15 to 49, who have ever married or partnered, have experienced physical or sexual violence from a male partner in the previous 12 months”.
Our society has graduated from a point at which the woman's place was thought to be in the home to a point at which now our women are being driven away from the home. Are our men falling apart psychologically because they are passively watching our women become empowered and aware, all while they are not trying to advance their own development to better complement us?
And, if it were not enough that we are killing our women and driving the living ones out of the home, we have also now turned to the destruction of even younger women and little girls, the mothers of tomorrow. What is the future of our nation if we decide to eliminate the gender that carries the future of the human race? In fact, we should ask what is the future of the human race? Have we decided to self-destruct? Where is the legislation to stem this madness and give our women and young girls a sense of security?
Our women appear endangered because we live in a society where our value is not perceived, nor is it being defended. It is time for the Government to act!
Research has shown that empowered and aware women make better decisions, build better homes, and raise better children, and where we choose to be such we provide better support for our men. Empowered and aware women are, to a great extent, the answer to the nation's economic woes — the future of the nation's financial stability.
As women we were not just created to nurture and build families, but businesses, societies and nations. The challenge, however, may be that our men fail to also empower themselves and develop their full potential to be able to better understand and complement the empowered woman, so insecurity flourishes where there is insufficiency, and intimidation replaces leadership.
I am calling on our men to man up! Protect us from the side, don't hunt us from behind! Be the men in the homes, the disciplinarians for our children, the protectors of our families. Stop killing our women and little girls in a cowardly show of strength. Take the challenge to grow and thrive with the empowered woman because in this 21st century the woman will stop at nothing to become her best self.
I am troubled at the fact that this is the situation we are facing as a nation in 2021. I am even more troubled at the fact that this very letter was written two years ago and was submitted to the media on April 19, 2019, but was not published. The mere fact that it is still every word as relevant today is an indication that we have spent the last two years as a nation jogging on the spot with this very issue while our women continue to fall victim to the lack of progress.
Founder and executive director
Predestined, for Women's Empowerment and Wellness
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