October is designated as domestic violence awareness month, did you know?

By. R.D. Miller

Beyond October: It was conceived out of a day of unity led by the National Collation Against Domestic Violence in October 1981 with purple as the official color.

For several years I have participated in three miles walk/run in support of victims of domestic violence with members of the law enforcement community, advocates, treatment providers and other support groups.

During this annual walk I often think about the Caribbean and other migrant migrant community globally.

Domestic violence tends to mask in the shadows in this community.

This walk comes at a time when some will be focusing on the raking falling leaves, or checking their windows and roofs in anticipation for winter in the northern region. And for those in the tropical climate, it is life as usual.

The fact is, inside this concentric Caribbean community and few other cultures, domestic violence remains a taboo subject and where not all victims know where to go for help even for the perpetrators.

Violence against women must stay a priority: This issue will not stop through the world as many domestic panthers will continue to abuse.

These cultural colors often emerge in the summer for celebrations, dancing to the latest soca, reggae and Latin rhythms; beneath the costumes, one love vibes, someone is hurting from irrational decisions by perpetrators.

There are plenty of definitions of domestic violence regardless of the type of relationship.

It is not about a single fight. If it feels wrong, it is…

It is never the victim’s fault:

  • Forced sexual activities
  • Intimation, isolation
  • Economic manipulation
  • Deprivation such as medical

Looking back at the HIV/AIDS epidemic and although medical advance made it a manageable disease, it was through awareness that reduced the stigma in this community.

I have also written that these cultural celebrations should be a place to highlight domestic violence or even homophobia

No! You do not have to be member of the LBGQ community or a victim to speak up and support these groups.

The struggle: Scholars have noted that Caribbean masculinity is tied to Europe colonization from the 17th through the 19th centuries, and where slavery’s dark period cannot be ignored and dehumanization of black women who were relegated to the kitchen.

The challenge is that some perpetrators carry that 16th century mentality that still sees women role in society as property; and their roles are in the kitchen and bearer of their children.

These scars still that linger are a correlation between a societal view of some women that often leads to inequality and inequity as research has shown.

However, it is not an excuse how some women are being treated today.

Even their upward mobility to leadership roles, inspiring the next generation, sadly, it seems for some, admitting to being a victim could cut their power and status.

Gender-stereotype, masculinity and sexuality hinder self-observation; especially for women who pathologize their community by judging herself and, this mentality creates more victims in fear of seeking legal, medical, and even psychological help.

Victims can also themselves in similar relationships with little or no support after migration.

Coupled with xenophobia some face and social stratification, these complexities along socio-economic and cultural identifiers causes more isolation.

Many in academia have noted that, even when treatment programs are available, the dropout rates remain high and victims often use cultural reasons as an excuse.

The lack of resources, choked off by poverty, sometimes can be difficult to fit comprehensive family, or personal and victim service program throughout many Latin American and Caribbean communities.

Groups intervention tends to stay in the shadow, lacks proper staffing, often closed shortly afterwards, and offenders often need the cooperation of law enforcement to make sure they attend treatment programs.

Whether the US, Canada, or the UK; or a gay person who lives under a bridge in Caribbean, being victimized should not make a difference: It hurts anywhere.

Decades after the movements, new generation movements from these once alienated migrant communities have stepped up globally, speaking out and forming support groups

The other color: Domestic violence also takes place same-sex relationships.

Men are victims of nearly three million physical assaults in the each year according to experts.

Violence and death inside the LGBTQ community has increased since 2010 and the Caribbean continues today from ignorance, and taboo; even by straight perpetrators who may have their own struggles with homosexual tendencies, as studies have shown.

In Jamaica, the “buggery law” dated back to colonial rule that prohibits same sex marriage and, with few advocates, today throughout Caribbean support for same sex intimate relationships is still a high tide.

Many of these laws throughout the Caribbean and other regions are outdated, and need to be more current to protect victims.

As some groups are becoming more accepting, and paving the way for support, hostility remains in some social, religious, and political groups that still see lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender relationships as a sin and morally wrong.

This identity makes it rather difficult for a victim in this community to seek and get help in an abusive relationship.

Substantially, it is what I see as a condemnation where masculinity and femininity are defined and thus has reduced objectivity in the rule of law and, without basic rights, one becomes powerless.

No one is immune from violence.

These communities should move from only seeing the symptoms and not the cause. The church is important, but dear pastor alone cannot solve these issues

First responders are key to the survival of these victims: not acting due to the lack of a physical scar is problematic.

Few Data: According to the National Collation Against Domestic Violence, one woman is killed by a spouse, ex-spouse, or some dating partner every 14 hours.

And every 20 minutes an intimate partner abuses someone.

Several academic international journals have noted that domestic violence accounted for about 19 percent of the total burden of healthcare for women age 15-44.

Youth and young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 years old are 2.41 times as likely to experience physical violence

Victim continues to use the health care system more than others do, and for several years after, the violence has stopped.

More than three million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year. Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at a higher rate.

There is a strong link to domestic violence, and child exploitation trafficking and where some are forced into marriages and the UN further reported that about 15 million young girls are victims yearly.

This violence creates a pattern of psychological and overcoming this traumatic experience has long-term critical consequences.

Has this community enough specially to highlight this issue remains an open question?

Finally, see you at the next walk or run in purple, or even standing under a banner for victims’ rights, because searching for survival, and a balance their community.

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