Commentary: Domestic violence awareness: Another missed opportunity

BY R.D. MILLER

  • The timing might not be right, I get it.
  • If not now, when?
  • This is an old story. I get it. However, there are always new victims.
  • They have already been punished, I get that! However, the pain never stops.
  • The victim went back with him. Could it be lack of support and fear?
  • He needs a second chance. That is important and so does others.
  • The network is not the world’s police, rightfully so.
  • There are many other things to talk about, will do.

Missed Opportunity: This year several personal and business resolutions have been missed. No one for sure can predict which story will dominate this year’s headlines. However, if history remains our guide, despite today’s cynicism and, and lack of trust in government and leadership, many communities should be focusing on policies and resources for several women who will become victims this year. This issue affects extended family, neighbors, schools, and friends; the list goes on.

Late November 2014, many tuned into the Soul Train music award on Black Entertainment (BET), and Centric TV. I tuned in to see Kool and the Gang receive a lifetime award for 50 years in the industry and not the glamour, fashion, music critics, and chatter about who came with whom. After the show had ended, the telephone ran.

His appearance and platform brought back memories of Rihanna’s face,” they stated. What if Chris Brown made a statement that said “violence against women is wrong” before his performance; would that have changed anything?”You might not agree for the reasons outlined earlier.

However, this is not about Chris Brown, who assaulted Rhianna few years earlier. It is about millions of young teenagers, especially women who normally tune-in to watch the show.

I get it again, millions of records sold. I get it again, it’s record sales, stupid!

Domestic violence is an epidemic. What is certain, one in five women who perhaps sat and observed these events are a victim or know and/or saw an abused person, raped, coerced into sex, or otherwise during her lifetime. In addition, nearly one in five adolescent girls has been in a relationship where a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup, according to the Washington Coalition against Violence. Even the US Army noted an increase in criminal assault in 2014.

Domestic violence stretches beyond a sound stage, and especially in the Caribbean where silence tends to morph as the laid back atmosphere while case numbers are staggering, gushing up against women faces like the ocean.

The Trinidad Express reported about 11,382 domestic violence cases filed two years earlier. In Jamaica, research has shown over 9,000, and 300 sexual assaults cases reported in the same year. Today, I also ponder what if international soca superstar Machel Montano from Trinidad and Tobago, who received an award at the BET awards and Jamaica’s Tessanne Chin, former winner of the Voice USA, were given a chance highlight more awareness and the potential impact given their massive audience.

Tennasse Chin-Jamaica
Machel Montano-Trinidad & Tobago . .
 
 
 

Responsibility: numerous television networks have been instrumental on much social awareness of importance issues, like AIDS, technology, fashion, voting, marriage equality that transcends across borders, especially, in poverty-stricken and developing countries, and any awareness will deliver a significant impact.

This year more cameras should be utilized to make domestic violence an unconformable topic in these regions where it remains a critical issue. The implication here is not that every award function and performers are responsible for crimes committed against women, nor one should one be forced to place a permanent disclaimer on the television screen about domestic violence at each event. Nevertheless, with success comes responsibility.

It must be handled as a national issue such as the murder rate that is high per-capita in some of the countries in the region. Although it is still an uphill battle, combined with constant images plastered in music videos and other settings that promotes tunnel vision of female beauty.

Nevertheless, more women are using their academic achievements and making a huge difference. They are now surpassing men in college degrees. Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases, including everything from autos to health-care. Seventy-five percent of women identify themselves as the primary shoppers for their households; $90 billion of the consumer electronic purchases according to several studies. If she decides to tune out, my products will be unsold.

The Impact: The year 2015 should be about the possible, and not what is popular. Many more global award shows will be on schedule from the Carnival, Reggae Sun Splash, Grammy, Super Bowl, the Golden Globe, and the Oscars. Other networks will continue to search for the “Big Get” to interview another high-profile domestic violence case.

These “Gets” sometimes create the wrong impression that, because the perpetrators and the victim are rich and famous, it can be fixed immediately. The reality is that; re-victimization is silent while a television rating gets loud. A influential abuser can be charming. The victim often believes it is just a one-time occurrence. Regrettably, many times these big stories are simple a prepared speech.

In an email to me, one wrote, while living in the Caribbean during the 1960s, she suffered years of domestic abuse by her first husband who raped and punched repeatedly even in his sleep. Instantly, he would apologize.

When she reported the to the local police department with signs of an abuse; the police shrugged it off and told her, “She must have done him something.” She also recalled a co-worker who used heavy make-up to hide her bruises, and a friend she lost when her husband severed her head.

Repeatedly it seems media pundits cannot resist overtime drive for an outcome of this violence, rather than focusing on the cause. The victim’s support is paramount, especially to escape an abusive relationship. The fear of financial hardship and of neglecting their children, and safety concerns, combined with the lack of support remain a hurdle.

Remaining silent because of shame has to be debunked. This only leads to more abuse. Domestic violence, rape, murder, and other crimes have left many hearts broken in 2014. These incidents seem to have come to remain a normal way of life as perpetrators continue committing more crimes.The

Disconnect: One would hope a victim’s race, color, sexual orientation, economic status, or nationality didn’t diminish this problem in 2015, and beyond. The lens by which some see this epidemic only promotes more intolerance, which is as dangerous as the act itself. For example: “what I dubbed the location homosexual” Inside this gay, lesbian, and transgender community, despite the fight for equality for all, one’s socio-economic status remains a barrier sometimes for inclusion.

The xenophobia of domestic violence excusing criminal behaviour must be stopped and is extremely troubling. When pop superstar Rihanna became a victim, her Barbadian nationality was  more important than the abuse itself. One lady suggested that “the Caribbean bitch probably put some roots on him. She was too much in love with this America boy and does not understand the culture that he needed space.”Another, “He better watches himself, those island women are crazy.” And he just smacked down the Caribbean.

When does it become a crime? A woman who has been punched in Barbados or Boston should not make a difference. It hurts anywhere. Furthermore, the narrative has to change, as many pundits would like to believe that only black men and the distressed community are associated with domestic violence cases.

Domestic violence affects everyone. Stop the Violence Against Women. An advocate group compiled a list of studies from the United Kingdom, which quantified pain and suffering costs as well as the costs of services used by victims and the reduction in economic output due to domestic abuse, and concluded that domestic violence costs people, the state and businesses about $23 billion. Sometimes, given the lengthy responses to other epidemics and other social issues, optimism remains elusive.

The Taliban killed over 100 adolescent students in Pakistan for seeking an education, Boko Haram escalated its attack in Nigeria, gas price at a record low, the president approval numbers have gone up, and Cuba now has a new friend, the US, the economy has rebounded, and so society moved on.

Global Reaction To The Terrorist Attack On French Newspaper Charlie Hebdo

These geopolitical, criminal, economic, and social issues are important to discuss, but unfortunately, domestic violence awareness quietly diminished from airwaves. Putting off this subject is as dangerous, as many women who stayed in their toxic relationships for decades. Such as Santa’s wish, domestic violence focus has to become prime time like Scandal, Days of Our Lives, or Downton Abbey popular television shows. This topic cannot be highlighted if only the elites are involved. For many parts of the world, it is a major problem, and perpetrators are going unpunished and unnoticed.

Finally: It is critical more local and international artistes use their platforms to spread awareness. When women lose their trust in the judicial system, it creates silence. This year, the mentality of a few will not change who believe that women are to be seen and not heard. Gender bias will not disappear.

Many abusers will compete again; show up at your local concerts. Millions of young women will be screening, and even you will dance. The hope is at least a few will show up with a picture of the abused women and families killed. Domestic violence cannot be a missed opportunity.

“I was guilty too because this article should have been published earlier.”

Celebrity and criminal justice: A test of the Jamaican criminal justice system

BY R.D. Miller

The anticipated verdict was more about the Jamaican justice system, and how they would severely handle the last disposition, including the profound effect over the Caribbean in general on celebrity justice, helpless victims, and what statement it would send to the next generation, where trust is frequently ranked low as it typically relates to the criminal justice system.

The high-profile trial was bigger than the prosecutors, defense counsel, key witnesses, local law enforcement, and how they carefully gathered and preserved evidence or the apparent lack of effective communication and proper rules.

It bought back memories of the  O.J. Simpson case where he was found not guilty on a double murder charge. The criminal trial put justice in prime focus. It was a combination of how law enforcement conducted themselves, money, celebrity and class.

Although (Vybz Kartel case did not receive the same worldwide notoriety such as the O.J. Simpson case in 1995. Several in the Caribbean watched this case closely about how justice would be served.

Quietly, to many,  national case brought back memories of earlier ones in which earlier politicians, the rich and powerful people in the region often walk away free, even when the evidence points more than likely that a punishable crime has occurred.

This is not to say that all rich, famous, and powerful defendants were guilty in all more prior cases. However, as many Jamaicans waited in anxious anticipation of the verdict, the alert for civil disobedience and vigilante justice was high.

However, the Jamaica judiciary system rose to the challenge and maintained order after the verdict. What was even impressive, many became educated with the jury system, and how overall the court process works for the first and the media fulfilled a critical role.

Often in regions where poor economic conditions still have a strong hold, justice is often seen through the eyes of one’s economic status, and notoriety. In fact, as much as we would like to see a balanced system, often these trial outcomes mirror several other countries based on one’s race, sex, creed, and colour.

The mandated strategies to combat crime and national safety should not create a generation of hopelessness. It should make sure that when penal codes have violated the rule of law as written in the “said constitution” continue intact.


Rule of law, public service, and personal safety are extremely important, whether in a democratic or totalitarian system of government. Promoting central control is a responsive government. This concept ensures that the right people are being selected, and the departments are staffed properly to keep up integrity, and correspondingly balance the public safety mission.

Today, a majority of us however look at the criminal justice system as “criminal justice for the appropriate price.”This is true especially when many people are being incarcerated not because of overwhelming evidence or simply probable cause is found beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is simply because they could not afford the defence needed to poke holes in government cases, and the ones who are sworn to uphold the law are being bought off from behind the bench.

The idea of celebrity justice is practically like policing and its gradual evolution that I carefully consider efficiently transferring from the boardroom into the social space. Criminal justice throughout the Caribbean region has evolved like the police force that was first developed within the context of properly maintaining a class system that protected private property in the early 18th century in Great Britain and now has become a decentralized system globally.

There is undoubtedly this verdict that will be debated for months to arrive and somewhat opens a new frontier about how this process really works. Debating the rule of law is nothing new. When other nations adopted the British common law, they also underwent a period of amendment after it had been criminally investigated in the criminal court of law.

When colonial British powers stretched throughout the Caribbean region, it not only brought slaves but a criminal justice system that set the foundation for how the government protects its people and implements justice.

Often, as official history has sufficiently shown us, only a few have benefited between haves vs. have-nots. However, this verdict, regardless of one’s position, should offer some hope.

Many on the island perhaps never understood how the judicial system works, and the moral responsibility that comes with being selected even as a juror. Now that the judgment is in, the region must begin to educate itself, from the primary schools to colleges on how the process works and expectation of a fair and balanced justice system and regardless of the defense one can afford.

The official verdict has tested the Jamaican judicial system, law enforcement rules, and what role entertainers play in the structure, and if justice can be bought. This verdict is more than just one man, and the impact will have a lasting effect.

On the other hand, if the local government does not use this opportunity to send a message, very soon key departments will no longer be capable of functioning to their fullest capacity as required to keep up public safety and a fair and balanced system.

What is sad from this verdict, despite a modernized process, it appears when a crime has been satisfactorily solved in the region, several departments stay on trial afterward, such as Vybz Kartel’s conviction.

The last analysis is that Vybz Kartel’s new jail number will not make a difference in the Jamaican stock exchange, or how many more jails will be needed or an improvement to the economic condition. On the other hand, if this criminal trend continues, soon Jamaica and more areas will have to build more prisons as one of the untold stories in the justice system and especially where more prisons are being built and privately owned.

They often need clients/customers to keep their operations going. As a result, the lives of the less fortunate among us seem to have diminished to debits and credits on a balance sheet or a ticker symbol trading in the stock markets.

The concept that entertainers were immune from the criminal justice system in Jamaica has now been proven incorrect. However, it seems the blame game continues about what went wrong, and what could have been done differently?


Inadequately training is now critical and if the body of local government that plays a vital role in unanimously upholding the law refuses to aggressively investigate critical gaps from preserving of evidence, and ensuring that officers can conduct comprehensive investigations from the emergency system to tracking criminals, to redefining agility and structural deficiencies, then the public trust will, however, continue to decline.

We typically have to be careful not to justly accuse everyone immediately if the successful outcome was not favorable to reasonable expectations. Dedicated employees might have committed some mistakes in the process, but what has taken place after the verdict is that law enforcement seems to have instantly become the focus of the debates. Going forward, the government needs to set up an independent commission to look at these issues to see if understaffing and proper training in those vital areas need to be addressed promptly.

How do we get there? The system should congregate an independent commission, which will be far from coerced-subjectivity and politics, to check any terrible lapse in compliance that has led to overall deficits across the agency that demands action.

It is important that they work together and communicate about the overall agency process and make sure continued security is adhered to and that accessibility to sensitive information is restricted to authorized users only.

Checks and balances are always needed, and although it can slow the process from hiring to implementation of human resources functions; however, urgent action is needed to discuss the dedicated staff concerns and going forward, give some level of oversight both internal and external.

I had never heard of him before this high-profile trial. However, I realize that he commands a huge following, and some might not agree with the possible outcome, also that is fine and democratic in any society. We cannot gently force anyone about who to dearly love.

On the other side, imagine the impact he could have sustained mobilizing the next generation on to better things. I am still optimistic that this time justice was in the open and not taken up in the hands of a few through retaliation.