Culture and Resources: Domestic Violence in the Caribbean


Violence is not our culture. Such a profound statement of truth.

Violence is not our culture. Such a profound statement of truth.

We can’t ignore the complexity of domestic violence. There’s no easy fix. Cultural attitudes and the lack of resources are two related issues that need careful and urgent attention. Ennufff is committed to illuminating both issues. In an upcoming show we’ll talk about the lack of resources in the Caribbean – far too many of our countries have far too few shelters, etc… To prepare for the show, I began researching and came across an important report, Domestic Violence in the Caribbean 2012 and article, Legal Reform is no Silver Bullet. Both have been used to provide the cultural attitudes and data I’ve included below:

Cultural Attitudes in the Caribbean re DV

  • In the context of the Caribbean, violence has traditionally been viewed as a “normal part of the relationship dynamic.” (Dr. Peter Weller)
  • In the Caribbean, some cultures believe that most women enjoy physical violence and regard it as expression of male macho.If they don’t display it may be perceived as not caring/not being interested.
  • In the Developing World, it is typically believed and accepted that DV must be kept inside the home (it is private).
  • Research has highlighted how legal reforms have been hindered by poor enforcement, under-resourcing and a failure to address core causes of violence against women.

Data from the report, Domestic Violence in the Caribbean 2012

On average, One third of Caribbean women experience domestic violence (Government of Grenada, 2011).

Suriname

  • 67% of women have experienced violence in a cohabiting relationship
  • 1 domestic violence shelter opened in 2010
  • Counseling center for DV victims in two districts
  • Held awareness raising conference in 2011

Haiti

  • 29% of women had experienced some form of intimate partner violence in the past 12 months, with 13% having experienced at least two different forms of violence
  • Sexual and partner violence have increased since the earthquake
  • Haiti doesn’t have a specific legal provision addressing domestic violence
  • It is estimated that 8 in 10 women have been victims of domestic abuse (half of these were husbands or intimate partners)
  • Nearly ⅓ of Haitian women believe that wife beating is justified under certain circumstances

Jamaica

  • Domestic Violence accounts for half of the violent deaths of women in Jamaica (Hoffman, 2002)
  • The numbers of women and children who die due to DV continues to rise each year (sometimes doubling) yet few organizations and institutions have developed effective methods to addressing this violence. Even fewer have developed programs to help the perpetrators of this violence.

Organizations & Sites to Look At

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