A report titled “Guyana Women’s Health and Life Experiences Survey (WHLES),” conducted by the Guyana Bureau of Statistics with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), UN Women, UNDP, USAID and the Global Women’s Institute of George Washington University and the University of Guyana in 2019, stated: “In Guyana, 38 per cent of women (surveyed) have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse violence above the global average.”
The survey was conducted among 1,498 women between the ages of 15 and 64 in the 10 administrative regions of Guyana. From the statistics gathered, it is safe to conclude that 38 in every 100 Guyanese women (surveyed) have experienced either one form of violence in their lifetime.
Dear Editor, I would like to address this topic from a different perspective. Within one week, three of our young women met their unfortunate demise at the hands of some cowards! The details of these three cases give one the accurate impression that violence against women is indeed a men’s issue! I would like to take some time to examine these three cases individually.
On November 11th 2020, a 16-year-old teen was stabbed to death by a 34-year-old man, whom it was reported that she shunned after discovering that he was married. On November 13th, a 28-year-old mother of three was stabbed to death by her husband because he believed she was being unfaithful. And on November 15th 2020, another 16-year-old teen was murdered allegedly by a 38-year-old man of whom it was reported that she had been in his company the day before her lifeless body was discovered. The reasons for her demise are unknown as this time.
It is without apology that I say men need to keep their emotions in check. I believe that while women’s empowerment is essential and it really should start at the early stages of a girl’s life, our boys should also be empowered from a tender age. Empowerment in this regard doesn’t mean that a boy should be taught how to be a man; however, he should be taught what it means to be a man.
Somehow, men are of the impression that to be “macho” means that you are a man. This is far from the truth. Being macho is what leads a man down a destructive path, since it implies that a man should be void of emotions. Men should be told that it is okay to cry, it is okay to not be okay, and that their emotions matter too. Men shouldn’t be taught to suppress their feelings because it is the macho thing to do. Men should start to empower each other. Don’t get me wrong, in no way am I saying that all men are abusers, I am just saying that most men are abusers because they feel it is the “manly” thing to do.
There is the common saying that, “If I can’t get you, no one else can.” I remember once being told this, and a knife being placed at my neck. I remember also thinking that it was a joke. I was too young to know that it wasn’t. Needless to say, that “relationship” didn’t work. On another occasion I remember, after breaking off an engagement, my ex-partner was sitting on the floor in a corner of the room dwindling a knife in his hands and staring coldly at me. That was the last time I stayed in a relationship in which I was uncomfortable. Some men are not able to cope with rejection, and so they become abusive. They sometimes don’t know how to walk away from a relationship. There is also the unspoken assertion, in a man’s head of course, that is it okay for a man to be unfaithful but not a woman. When a woman reciprocates, she is killed in most instances. In no way do I agree with the “eye for an eye” or a “tooth for a tooth” analogy; however, this is what happens most of the time. A married man would have his wife at home and another woman on the outside. However, should either of these women decide to do just as he does, she is killed in most cases.
I hope that with my rambling you are able to get the gist of where this discussion is headed. Men are the real issue when it comes to our women being killed. I am calling on the men’s associations, I know there are a few; I am calling on the sports organisations at the community level; I am calling on the religious bodies at the church level; I am calling on the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Protection, and the Ministry of National Security to get more involved in men’s empowerment. The solution to minimising the occurrence of our women being killed weighs heavily on the empowerment of our men! It is time to start a national discussion on how we can empower our men to be the men we need as fathers, brothers, husbands and sons.
Dear Editor: while, sadly, the lives of the women who have died at the hands of men cannot be brought back to life, it is my sincere prayer that the lives of our women and men can be saved with early intervention.