Men speaking to men about domestic violence is one possible way forward

Dear Editor,

Women in Guyana continue to be murdered at the hands of our men and something needs to be done urgently to address this issue. Our most recent case is that of the killing of Bindomattie Seetaram and Serojdeo Khan  by Jainarine Seetaram in Glasgow Housing Scheme, East Bank Berbice. As reported, the weapons used were a hammer and a knife.

I do not have any solutions to the issue of violence against our women, but I do have some suggestions on a possible way forward:

1.            ‘Men reaching men’ approach: Nationally-organised community-level meetings should be held in each of the regions of Guyana where men speak to men about domestic violence. Topics covered could include: the sanctity of life, conflict resolution, anger management, coping mechanisms/stress relief, masculinity and identity, gender roles and gender stereotypes, self-respect and a respect for others, love versus possessiveness, family life, etc. These sessions should be interactive so that the concerns and questions of men could be heard, and so that any issues that are raised could be addressed. The rationale for this approach is that men may be more open to discuss their concerns with other men. Rapporteurs, Counsellors and other professionals should be present at such sessions so that follow-up action could be taken.

2.            ‘Women reaching women’ approach: Similar to the approach mentioned above, a safe haven should be provided so that women could discuss issues such as, but not limited to,  the following: domestic violence, warning signs of abuse,  strategies that could be used to come out of situations of domestic violence, support systems that are available, and social and financial empowerment.

3.            If not done already, a study needs to be done on the root causes of domestic violence in Guyana. This study should include the interviewing of the families of victims, as well as an identification of domestic violence trends as derived from newspaper reports over the years.

I am aware that some men are also victims of domestic violence so it is recommended that all awareness-raising/solution-oriented initiatives also include a focus on the prevention of violence against men. What are some of the other approaches that could be used to prevent domestic violence in Guyana in general, and violence against women in particular? How could we move forward?

Yours faithfully,
Loria-Mae Heywood

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