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Enough is enough!

Sunday, January 7, 2018
A member of the media records the area where the body of an unidentified woman was found yesterday at Pumpkin Street, Orange Grove.

Enough is enough.

So says non-governmental organisation Is There Not A Cause (ITNAC) as it called on the public to wear black this week to show its discontent with the level of domestic violence taking place in the country leading to the death of our women.

"Recently there have been a large number of reports of domestic abuse making the national news. Far too many of these situations have ended in the victims’ death at the hands of her abuser," ITNAC stated.

As a result of this, ITNAC said it will be embarking on a five-day passive demonstration starting from tomorrow.

"ITNAC's position is that no form of abuse should be tolerated. Be it physical, verbal, emotional or psychological; against a man or a woman," ITNAC stated.

"However, this call goes out to stand with the many women who have suffered and who are still trapped in abusive relationships," it stated.

ITNAC's release was sent around 10.30 am.

Just a few hours later, the mutilated body of a woman was discovered at Orange Grove Road in Tacarigua.

The body was in an advanced state of decomposition and clad only in underwear. The hands and feet were reportedly missing.

Up to late last night, the woman's identity remained unknown.

This gruesome discovery comes on the heels of the murders of Inga Scheult also known as Vanessa Ali and Arisa David, earlier this week.

Of the 17 people killed in the first six days of 2018, three have been women.

David, 25, was found dead inside her Lime Head Road, Chaguanas home on Tuesday. The mother of two girls, aged seven and two, was in an abusive relationship for the past seven years, relatives said.

An autopsy revealed David was strangled to death.

On Thursday 23-year-old Scheult, also a mother of two, was found dead on the side of the road in Barrackpore.

Scheult had a single gunshot wound to her head.

The year 2017 ended with 52 women being killed. In total, the murder toll for last year was 493.

According to statistics compiled by the Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago (PLOTT), the main method used to kill women in 2017 was with a sharp instrument.

On the last day of 2017 Drupatee Sankar, 50, was chopped with a cutlass by her ex-husband Bishnu following a long-standing dispute.

One of Sankar's arms was severed.

The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition Against Domestic Violence has demanded an investigation or public enquiry into these cases.

"Was there a pattern of violence? Had reports been made to the police? What actions, if any, were taken to secure the safety of these women? How did we as a society fail these families and these women?" the coalition stated.

"Indeed, investigations should be routinely ordered into domestic murders by the authorities as such inquiries will highlight areas of needed improvements and will also strengthen the culture of accountability of state actors to act with due diligence to protect, prevent and punish domestic violence," the coalition stated.

Zero tolerance approach needed—psychologist

Clinical Psychologist Dr Katijah Khan said we need to adopt a zero tolerance approach to all abuse in this country.

Khan advised anyone who may be in an abusive relationship to talk to someone.

"They (victims of abuse) do not have to live with that situation as is, they do not deserve it, they deserve better and they are worth it. I would say they need to talk to somebody about it, it is not a secret, it is nothing to be ashamed about. If you are facing violence in a relationship, if you are dissatisfied with a relationship talk to somebody, reach out to somebody and get some help," Khan said.

"There are different avenues you can go to for help, there are family and friends, there are the police, social services, speak to somebody."

Khan said the people who victims may turn to for help need to understand that abuse should never be normalised.

"To people who are on the receiving end somebody is telling you they are being abused, that is not normal and it should never be accepted as normal, nobody deserves that, nobody deserves to be hit and abused. It is not an acceptable part of our culture," she said.

Khan called on family to intervene if they know of abuse taking place.

"We should have a zero tolerance for abuse, so if we know a family member is a perpetrator, the family needs to come together to do something, to have a conversation and to try and get that person some help," she said.

'Look for the red flags'

"The larger issue of violence is that too often we resort to violence, whether it is using physical punishment for children, so when we continue to use physical punishment to children we are teaching them that violence is the way to solve problems and to react when they are angry and dissatisfied," Khan said.

Khan said abusive language in a relationship should be viewed as an "awful red flag".

"What we need is zero tolerance on all forms of abuse, so whatever it is pushing, shoving, shouting, whether it is physical abuse or psychological and verbal abuse, somebody saying mean and nasty things like 'you are not worth it, you are worthless, you are not good enough', those are also warning signs that people need to be very wary of. If you see this controlling, possessive, negative abusive verbal signs those are awful red flags and you need to tell yourself this is not worth it in the long run," Khan said.



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