Almost like clockwork (orange?), we’re in the midst of another “awareness” campaign on domestic violence. The phenomenon is so widespread that there’s a whole cottage industry just to keep up with its manifestations.
We now have (just taking a random sample from the literature) “physical violence”, which – in case you didn’t know – “is the intentional use of physical force with the potential for causing death, injury or harm.” It’s on top of the list; and, to cut to the chase, it is overwhelmingly directed against females. A U.N. study done a couple of years ago showed that 38% of Guyanese females reported experiencing physical violence in their lives. Of recent, this appears to have become more gruesome, with the killing of a woman being reported almost every week. While it is no comfort to the women being brutalised and murdered, the same pattern is reflected worldwide, indicating that whatever our local explanations might be – such as our brutally violent history of slavery and indentureship – the problem goes deeper into all our various social structures and arrangements for living together.
There’s also “sexual violence”, which has to be a subset of the above, but which seems to be exploding exponentially as women are finally experiencing a higher level of freedom. Sexual violence goes to the heart of the male-directed violence against females, and much of the physical violence stems from this element. It would appear that the notion that women are the exclusive property of men, to be used for their sexual gratification, is deeply ingrained in all so-called “patriarchal” societies; which is a tautological as you can get, since there isn’t a society that isn’t “patriarchal”! The so-called “honour killings” in some of these societies have to be seen as a logical extension of this jaundiced view. Imagine, the honour of THE MAN is supposedly violated!!
Another one is “intimate partner violence”, which might be seen as a further subset of the above, and illustrates the palimpsest, layered nature of violence against women. Murderous “intimate partners” indicate you don’t even need marriage with its “love and obey” stricture for ownership to kick in!
Then, of course, there’s “economic abuse”, which includes denying a woman access to, and control over, basic resources. A way to get them to “obey”, of course, but as more women enter the workforce, this is getting trickier to enforce. So, hence the resort to physical violence.
We could go on and on about psychological violence, structural violence etc, etc…but, hopefully, we get the point? To wit that “this sh*t’s got to stop”.
But it won’t until the state, which was invented to stop arbitrary violence, steps in more forcefully!
But while we rightfully light up those orange floodlights against domestic violence, we can’t afford to take our eyes off “ethnic violence” in our country, which kicks in every time the PNC decides it MUST be in government. Remember 1963-1964, when they teamed up with the Brits and the Yanks to oust the legally elected PPP Govt? Then, after 28 long years of growing dictatorial PNC rule, we had “free and fair” elections? The PNC faithful, under Hamilton Green’s prodding, beat perceived PPP supporters, burned buildings and stormed the Elections Center with President Carter inside.
Following the elections of December 1997, the PNC disputed the results and unleashed massive, violent protests in Georgetown. Even though those protests truncated the PPP’s term by 2 years and led to massive constitutional changes to have inclusive governance with the PNC, they launched their “slow fyaah; mo fyaah” strategy, which saw parts of Georgetown go up in smoke, and Buxton-based violence sweeping the country.
The West Berbice eruption was just a reminder that nothing’s changed!
…in the world
Violence also intensified with the added variable of inter/intra-national squabbles. Ethiopia has just violently put down protests in its Tigray province, and Israel just bearded Iran with its assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientists. Will Biden be drawn in?