“Hands Chopped Off”. “Woman Forced to drink Acid”. “Woman in suicide pact died”. “Wife of local car dealer beaten” .
These are just a few of the nightmarish headlines we are faced with daily as a population of no more than 1.6million, just in the past few weeks. If we were to collate them over the past year even the hardest of hearts would grieve once they are viewed outside the realm of "another statistic". With such violent attacks against women reaching brazen heights (or depths) weekly in Trinidad and Tobago, today's celebration of International Women’s Day attains even more significance.
Mothers are seen as the most integral part of keeping a household together and as such in many cultures are afforded greater respect for the improtance their nurturing represents. However, this seems to be a by-gone era as women fall prey to the whims of men with alarming regularity. Within the last couple of weeks alone women from all over the country have been attacked. Usually, these attacks are carried out by men they are familiar with or encountered at some point in their life. The latest attack took place in New Grant, Chaguanas. Just a few days before the world celebrates International Women’s Day, Jennifer Rampersad, an accounts clerk,sustained several chops about her body with her right hand left hanging by just skin to her wrist and eventually amputate while two of her fingers were severed. For what reason? Nothing has yet been confirmed but a jealous male is the prime suspect as is the case in many similar circumstances.
How women are being treated is a grave concern for our society. A society is measured by how they treat their weak and most vulnerable. Too many times our women are left open to the dark desires that sometimes invade the minds of the male species. Coupled with the 4000 plus cases of child abuse we have clear signs that our society has failed to protect our ladies and children, our most vulnerable from the "monsters" among us to loosely quote our Prime Minister. How many of these are even detained to pay the price for their villanous acts? Those who have the rare misfortune of being among the few detained are then given three square meals a day(and probably a cell phone and acess to cable tv) at a prison paid for by citizens. In fact, our society has failed to an extent that the average citizenry looks forward to these attackers getting their comeuppance at the hands of fellow prisoners. That is where we expect to see justice, not through the court or the legal system. How sad is that?
Who gives a man the right to believe he can be violent against a women?, Who gives a man the power to control a woman lke she is his property? Who gives a man the authority to take a woman’s life because of jealousy or some percieved slight? These are the unanswered questions we as a nation should be concerned with as the attacks continue unbrazenly and seemingly without consequence. How often do we see headlines of women chopping off men's hands? Of women throwing acid on a man in a domestic dispute? The closest we have seen is a woman vandalising a man's vehicle on social media. Not that it does not exist, but it is a clear indication of how within our society the male ego still reigns supreme in terms of relationships and one's reactions within a failed relationship.
Gender parity is one of the themes labelled for this year’s International Women’s Day conferences. Women demand to be treated equally to men but some men on the other hand still see women as subordinates. as the weaker sex. This trend of women losing their lives to domestic violence needs to be addressed more forcefully locally. There are too many instances of women dying and their family saying the police were informed but were unable to make the intervention that could have saved a life.The image of the woman being kicked and beaten with a metal bar in a bar last year comes to mind, especially when remembering that she asked that the man be allowed to spend christmas and that no charges were laid. Men need to realise that women are free to leave a relationship when they have had enough.
The network of NGOs for the advancement of women invites you to celebrate International Women’s Day with them today on Tuesday 8th of March 2016 along the Brian Lara Promenade from 9am-5pm. Come out in your numbers an join the cause as women from all over Trinidad march and pledge for Gender Parity. The march commences on the promenade at 12 noon and will only last one hour through the streets of Port-of-Spain, while there is packed programme throughout the day.
Join us and take a stance for Gender Parity. Save our women.
In commemoration of International Women's Day, a number of guest columnists have been invited to give their view of the movement toward gender parity in Trinidad and Tobago.