Gender Based Violence (GBV) is the silent plaque of Jamaica. Nothing breaks my heart more than hearing the reports of violence against women flooding the airwaves. Just last week Wednesday, April 10th 2019, a man shot and killed his wife in broad day light, then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide in front of his 12 year old daughter.
Words can not describe the pain and agony that I feel. This could have been my mother, my sister, my neighbor or my work colleague. Gender Based Violence has no shame in who it targets. According to the European Institute for Gender Equality,
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender and power inequality, and continues to be one of the most notable human rights violations within all societies. GBV is violence directed against a person because of their gender. Both women and men experience gender-based violence but the majority of victims are women and girls.European Institute of Gender Equality. (n.d.) What is gender-based violence.
More Jamaicans need to understand that GBV isn’t going to disappear if we stick our heads in the sand. It will only get worse. The media reports on cases of GBV, but it comes across as almost sensational or “just another day in Jamaica” rather than it being seen as a national crisis. If we continue to ‘sorta just ignore’ GBV, it will fester and send the wrong messages to men and women that this an acceptable or expected way for men to express their emotions or anger.
Don’t believe me? Just two day after on April 12, 2019, another man bludgeoned his wife in attempts to end her life then hung himself shortly after. Fortunately, the wife was able to survive the incident but the true gravity of the issue of GBV needs to be delivered clearly in all media messages. GBV should no longer be seen as a ‘one off’ scenario. We all have a part to play in ending GBV.