The pandemic of domestic violence has swarmed across societies in many parts of the world, including Guyana. This country has attempted to respond by the institution of agencies and mechanisms to address an ongoing, and indeed, escalating problem. One ponders on the efficacy of the implementation process, given, for one thing, the relative dearth of relevantly trained family counsellors.
It needs not great perspicacity to recognise that the targets of rehabilitation of the deviant (violent) behaviours must not only be the perceived perpetrator, but also the other inhabitants of the environment within which the violence erupts.
In the face of the paucity of personnel to focus attention on, and monitor, these sites of emotional and psychological imbalance, one would hope that resort to amply attended religious groupings (of any kind), would inspire the latter’s leadership to consider this malignant growth in our small society a challenge which should be met with as proactive a restorative programme as it deserves.
There are few of us who have not experienced varying degrees of dissonance in our emotional relationships. Some have been luckier than others at those times to reach out for, and receive, needed support; others have even had guidance volunteered by more experienced and empathetic family and friends; others again are forced to confront their own inadequacies, and use their intellectual and spiritual strengths to dig deep to find the inner resources to surmount and eventually prevail over the substantive depreciation of their self-worth.
Then again, the rudderless amongst us are left to resort to mimicking those perceived as role models, who appear to ‘enjoy’ a better life, and whose social and organisational status render them immune from the sanctions lesser ones must endure.
So that, as has happened in this society in recent times, when these models of status and power are shown to have deviated into their own versions of violence (and with impunity), the mis-educated feel prone to mimicry, albeit in their own crude manner.
Not unlike their more reflective counterparts, however, these disadvantaged cannot comprehend the amorality of a society which discriminates between classes of perpetrators of like violence. The members of this bemused group find it difficult to understand why those more sensible (and allegedly more responsible) than they choose to condone acts of physical subordination by one class over another of a demonstrably different social and economic level; and refuse to acknowledge that the particular type of interpersonal violence not only can extend beyond the confines of one family, but also that the description ‘domestic’ is a mere euphemism.
It would be surprising to learn that such standards of debasement are not disapproved and penalised normally in our business organisations, and in our religious institutions, for example.
Yet ‘lawfilled’ personages uphold this imposition of violence on the human body and spirit, overlooking the possibility (however remote) that it can befall a distanced (vulnerable) relative.
Compounded by the profound silence which now prevails, we are faced with an amorality that not only argues for this version of violence to be deemed justiciable, but also, in a manner, projects its justifiability.
How much farther must our descent go?
E B John