Tomorrow is decision day for the people of Tobago as they move to elect a new Chief Secretary for the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).
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The pain of being abused by my companion
“It is not my enemies who taunt me, I could bear that. It is not my adversaries who deal insolently with me, I could hide from them. But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend with whom I kept pleasant company...” Schoolteacher Sheila Stuart quoted this test from Psalm 55 to describe the horror of being abused by someone close to you. Stuart was speaking at a domestic violence seminar yesterday at the Tunapuna Community Centre hosted by the group Women on the Edge of the Tunapuna Community Council.
The seminar took place while the police and media were in remote Matura, on the east coast, to investigate a murder/suicide involving Barry Karamath and his two young children. Stuart said the Psalmist’s words vividly describe his personal dismay at being persecuted by someone he once trusted. “These words of betrayal and hurt are also a sad but realistic portrayal of the feelings of those who suffer from domestic violence. Such is the deceptive nature of abuse.”
Speaking on the spiritual dimension of domestic abuse which, in many cases, end in murder, Stuart said it is important women understand how much they are valued. “It is important they understand they are created in the image and likeness of God. God wants us to value ourselves the way He values us. “When we realise whose we are and how precious we are to God, we will not subject ourselves to any kind of abuse.”
Stuart, involved in social work, also quoted from the book Desire of Ages by Ellen G White, who said, “The Lord is disappointed when His people place a low estimate upon themselves.” She said the Bible describes God as one who hates violence and warned there will be punishment to those who offends little children.
Describing how families are supposed to be, she told participants, “God has positioned us in families so that we can grow in grace, develop Christ-like characteristics and build healthy, wholesome relationships. “Husbands and wives should avoid everything that creates contention and unnecessary conflict in order to preserve harmony and peace in the home. “God desires that husbands love their wives in the same tender, self-sacrificing way that Christ loves the church, not subject them to bullying and brutality.
“There is no room for tyrannical control and abuse of power and authority. Both are to submit to each other. “We must accept males and females as equals and acknowledge that every person has a right to respect and dignity. “Failure to relate to others in this way violates their personhood and devalues human beings who were created and redeemed by God.”
Other presenters at the seminar included former government minister Dr Emmanuel Hosein, who helped draft the domestic violence act, and a representative of the police’s Victim and Witness Support Unit.