The recent incident which has attracted international coverage between international performing artistes Rihanna and Chris Brown has given a prominent face to the scourge of domestic violence (DV). While we agree that DV is endemic in all countries and carves across race, colour, creed and even sex, sometimes it helps when famous people fall victim because of the attention it attracts.
Reports we have read suggest that both Rihanna and Chris Brown were members of households where they witnessed domestic violence. Psychiatrists often share the view that DV begets DV and it requires a strong will and sometimes professional help for victims to break the cycle. Rumours have been rife since last year that this is not the first time Rihanna and Brown would have resorted to embarrassing displays of behaviour in public when attempting to reconcile disagreements.
Yesterday’s press has reported that Rihanna will be making a public statement soon. There was a hint in the report that Rihanna will be speaking directly to the issue of DV. If she does BU believes that this is a big positive that would have come out of the sordid episode. Rihanna as a poster girl or should we say spokesperson for DV would go a long way towards raising the awareness level to this malady which afflicts all communities.
To paint a picture of the current level of DV in Barbados we thought we would post statistics, unfortunately we have not been able to find an authoritative source on the Internet. Even so the recurring comment about DV in Barbados is that known statistics are grossly understated. Many women it seems endure DV in silence. Mr. Ralph Boyce who heads up the MESA (forum to highlight the concerns of men) suggests that we have men who endure in silence as well. There is agreement though that women carry the burden of DV.
Of note is the knowledge that many of our social and support services are ill-equipped to adequately deal with DV. The police especially often treats DV reports as nuisance calls or alternatively with a heavy hand. The parties caught up in the cycle of DV require professional help.
As people who are not perfect, we expect that as communities we will have to battle with our imperfections until the end of time. Until that time comes we have to continue to educate our people about the implications of DV to sustaining a wholesome society.
To BU family members, when ever you suspect DV is present please ACT!