Deafening silence on a national travesty  

The silence is truly deafening. Nary a peep about the beastly assault of a young woman that was so brutal, it forced her to abort her unborn child (the assault should be public record as it was reported to the police and the medical procedure was verified by the young woman).

Only in whispers have people talked about the ruthless beatings that eventually pushed this young woman to the point of knowing that if she did not defend herself, she could die.

Many people learned of this story on Facebook where the young woman was smart and brave enough to document her abuse with status updates over the past few months and photos of her marred face from previous beatings. But that Facebook page has now been silenced, too. And that young woman is now hiding in quiet instead of displaying the courageousness she possessed right after that fateful night when she fought back against her abuser for her very life.

Sadly though, the truth is that while everyone sits and whispers about this case, no one seems willing to hold the abuser accountable. Not the police and not the people of the nation. Which is why there are only whispers. The nation should have rallied around this young woman and demanded justice, as would have happened in many other countries. This is a travesty. Violence seems to reign supreme. What a repulsive way to lead a nation.

But it is the people who allow the leaders to reign with violence. So many go through the actions of being enraged at the cruelty of some of these leaders, but these same individuals are not willing to step up and demand accountability from those who reign through violence. The people look to human rights advocates to find ways to stop the violent reign, but they are not willing to support those advocates when there are protests or demands for accountability.

The propagated fear of race is consistently more important than the fear of those who are actually committing the violence. “Better the devil you know.” But is that truly the case when “the devil you know” is the real problem that is holding the nation back and not the neighbour of a different race? Who is it that should really be feared? How long will these ridiculous lies be swallowed?

From the people there are shrugs of shoulders and sucking of lips. “This is just the way things are.” It is exactly this type of apathy that allows violence to continue its rule of terror. And then when yet another abusive leader strikes down one more citizen, it is then the fault of the human rights advocates because they are the ones who are not doing enough. This is all so dizzily frustrating.

And what of the latest brutalised young woman who has now dropped off the radar? Does anyone even care about whether she is alive or not? Or is it more important to continue pretending that everything is just fine, that the racial fear perpetuated by the nation’s leaders is normal and that the life of yet one more young woman is not important in the big scheme of things? The show must go on.

After years of women’s advocacy groups bringing awareness to the issue of domestic violence, and after years of saying over and over that the victim is not to blame for the violent actions of the abuser – I still saw people blaming this victim.

“She was not married to him, she could have left at any time.”

“She just wanted the fame and money that came with being in a relationship someone in his position.”

“She only got pregnant to force him to stay in a relationship with her.”

I swear sometimes I feel like we will never move beyond these patriarchal excuses for justifying the violence of men against women. Even one female leader who claims to care about women was tagged in this young woman’s posts and I do not see her demanding justice for this brutally abused victim. Party is more important than one young woman’s life.

Let me make this as clear as possible, this one young woman signifies Guyana as a whole. This one young woman and the way she was abused represent all of the women of Guyana because those ‘individual’ women who have been ignored by the system are piling up into thousands of women. A whole nation of abused women – and still we turn a blind eye to the abuse and blame the women for the violence of the men.

This young woman represents the nation in one other way, too. As she hides in fear while her abuser goes about his business knowing full well that he can continue to abuse whomever he wants, so goes the nation.

As the nation hides in fear from those who habitually abuse it, those bastards go about their business knowing full well that they can continue to abuse whomever they want and the people will just take the abuse – after all, it is the other race that is to be feared, not the ones who are actually inflicting the abuse.

When those who become brave for a moment rise up, like this young woman did, and strike back to defend their lives, they are then made to appear as if they are the ones who did something wrong while the abuser plays the victim. This is all twisted. The abuser is the one who is criminal, the victim is the one who should receive society’s support and the sooner the people set this aright (both for the women and for the nation), the sooner Guyana will be able to heal and grow.


More in Daily, Features

future notes1

Unifying general and technical education

I argued last week that the physical and institutional infrastructure and processes within the education system have changed significantly in recent times.

Latin View

Trump’s coronation was like that of a ‘maximum leader’

I learned in journalism school that what you see often is more important than what you hear, so I decided to turn off the television volume during much of the Republican National Convention that proclaimed Donald Trump as the Republican’s presidential candidate, and to take notes.

default placeholder

Three welcome developments: The appointment of the Tax Chief, the Head of FIU, and the Bid Protest Committee

Three important appointments were recently announced, namely the Commissioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and members of the three-person Bid Protest Committee.

20160725Dave Chadee

Caribbean chases Zika preparedness, after death of mosquito expert

By Gerard Best   Gerard Best is a researcher and writer covering social issues across the Caribbean and Latin America. Based in Trinidad and Tobago, he is the former New Media Editor at Guardian Media Limited and the Caribbean Communications Network, the country’s largest media companies.

default placeholder

The good, the bad and the ugly of social media

Most of us are locked into Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or other social media platforms. Many of us are constantly checking updates, seeking new links, posting pictures, being fully engaged in likes, comments and gossip.

default placeholder

TVET and education reform

The editorial ‘Vocational education’ (SN 15/07/2016) has rightly called upon the government to give greater priority to technical and vocational education and training  (TVET).


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: