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Chairman of the Cabinet-appointed Child Protection Task Force, Diana Mahabir-Wyatt, is advising all women to seek training in self-defence, as domestic violence has been on the increase in the country over the past six months.
“Every adult woman and every girl should take classes in self-defence, because the reality is that violence exists,” she stressed yesterday as she delivered the feature address at the launch of the Arts in Action Programme of the women’s executive of the National Union of Government and Federated Workers (NUGFW) at WASA’s St Joseph compound. The programme seeks to reduce the incidence of domestic violence against women and children.
Mahabir-Wyatt told the gathering she herself had already done a self-defence course. In the past six months, she said, gambling had also contributed to an increase in domestic abuse. She said that was because the breadwinners in homes were paid on Fridays and before the weekend ended they lost all their earnings to gambling and the families were left hungry. “This is becoming increasingly the cause of domestic violence, (as) it ends in quarrelling, altercations and domestic violence,” Mahabir-Wyatt said.
The former independent senator said emotional violence was more painful than physical violence as the body could heal but she also said marital rape was very painful and could destroy women’s self-esteem. She insisted: “Nobody, male or female, deserves to be raped. No man deserves to be raped against his consent by another man or woman.” She also raised the issue of violence against the elderly, which she indicated was on the increase as they did not have a voice.
“Their property is taken away from them, their dignity is taken from them and they are neglected which is a form of domestic abuse,” Mahabir-Wyatt told the mainly female audience. She also said citizens did not feel safer in the country today. Mahabir-Wyatt also reiterated that a lot of domestic violence against children was not committed by men but by women as it was women who were mostly violent against children.
“Something like 75 per cent of the cases of violence against children were committed by their mothers or their grandmothers,” she said.