Domestic violence was described as “… behavior that causes one partner in a relationship to fear the other. Domestic violence can take the form of physical or sexual abuse and force social isolation from friends and family. “However, domestic violence has many victims other than married partners.
Guyana’s laws prescribe someone’s rights in this matter set out in the Domestic Violence Act as “recognized under the law and law enforcement agencies, such as the courts”, and stipulate that Guyana Police must assist to enforce rights, and offer protection to any man, woman or child who may be experiencing domestic violence.
Some signs of domestic violence are described as persistent verbal abuse such as squabbling and cursing (one can add to that dehumanizing someone’s character and making unjustifiable abusive remarks about oneself and your loved ones); threatening the person with physical violence (threatening to hit the person with hands or objects) as well as actually hitting the person; damaging a person’s property (such as breaking a person’s cellphone, tearing or burning a person’s clothes, among other things); following a person from place to place, even though that person does not want to be followed; concealing clothing or property used by the individual (for example, hiding an individual’s mobile phone, clothes, identity card, passport, and even money); making continuous and / or unwanted contact with the individual (such as calling the person on their mobile or home phone several times a day, watching the person’s house, waiting for the person to leave work or study, follow the person from home or work, although that person does not want to be followed or watched); and to use abusive language, or to behave towards a person in such a way as to lead to the abuse of that person. For example, cursing and arguing with a person in front of others, and then encouraging others to do the same.
A Government initiative to deal with the flash of domestic violence suggested steps that should be taken to protect yourself (and possibly others) from domestic violence, and to provide a descriptive analysis of a Protection Order. One of the suggestions made is to report to the nearest Police station, and there is a conundrum.
Those who are supposed to “protect and serve” most often provided the catalyst for a tragedy to occur because of their attitude and attention – or lack thereof, when a complainant drummed up the required courage (often with great difficulty) and lodges a complaint.
Guyanese have stopped being our brother’s (and our sister’s) keepers, because, in many communities, neighbors who witness a continuum of abuse, and increase in cases, are refusing to participate. They prefer to enjoy the enfolding tragedy, even supplementing it with malicious rumor and strife, because the titillation of rivalries and wars within families finds corresponding resonance in the dark mood that dwells in each soul, and the average person refuses to rise above their more prudent equivalence to achieve a higher plane of thought and action, perhaps enough to intervene – and probably save a family from eventual destruction.
And one wonders what role church bodies and religious leaders play in melting communities into units that are cohesive enough to formulate strategies for interventions within families and the wider society in efforts to divert energy to more productive approaches and peaceful resolution of conflicts – maybe even empowerment.
The acceleration in conflicts prone to violence within families and societies is getting out of control, to the extent that many lives have been lost, with many more displaced, and there seems to be no end in sight.
Unless there is a holistic, proactive approach, in which all the nation’s stakeholders are aware that this cause and struggle is national, every effort made – as powerful and committed as they may be, will be woefully inadequate, because domestic violence is a national tradition rooted in the Guyanese psyche.
People in communities do not usually think it is their business to report cases of abuse, and many women and children have been victims of crime, and even murdered, when timely intervention could have saved a life someone.
Evil can only continue if good people think it’s not their business; so unless we return to the age when we were all custodians of our sister or brother, there will be many more victims who would suffer even more tragic consequences for their lives.

Previous articleSam Hinds helped save the economy for all Guyanese