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“Wife murders are a national disgrace. The slaughter of twenty-eight women in twelve months last year, 2022, was scandalous. Most victims were shot, stabbed, strangled, battered or burnt to death by their partners or spouses.” This, said former President David Granger speaking during his weekly programme, The Public Interest, complemented the complaint of UN Secretary General António Guterres who lamented that “Violence against women and girls may be the world’s longest [and] deadliest pandemic”.
The former President said that the elimination of domestic violence in this country was hampered by inadequate policing, insensitivity of law-enforcement agencies, inclination of some victims to settle matters out-of-court and indecisiveness of others about reporting abuse to the police.” He cautioned, however, against thinking that violence could be eliminated by law-enforcement alone.
Reducing violence requires education as a means of fostering gender equality. Equality is guaranteed by the Constitution but women still suffer, disproportionately, from domestic abuse, discrimination and economic disparities. Energetic enforcement of domestic violence laws is needed, also, in the hinterland, where there is a high incidence of violence. Empowerment is an eternal endeavour that has been championed consistently by a few organizations − Help and Shelter, Merundoi, Red Thread and Women Across Differences − and other NGO and the Women and Gender Equality Commission, Mr. Granger noted.
The former President recalled that his APNU+AFC administration adapted the UK’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security 2018-2022 to reduce and, eventually, eliminate, gender-based violence. The Plan emphasized the principles of prevention of violence against women and girls; participation with women equally with men to promote gender equality in decision-making; protection and promotion of women’s and girls’ rights and relief and recovery to meet the needs of women and girls.
Mr. Granger said that three measures − the eradication of misogyny at an early age; expenditure on the prevention of violence against vulnerable women, not merely on protection of victims from its effects; and enhancing public trust in the Police Force − were pre-conditions for eliminating domestic violence. He said that there are no easy answers to eliminating the epidemic of domestic violence, only intelligent choices by policy-makers who should evince the political will to remedy this pandemic.