About Domestic ViolenceThe term ‘domestic violence’ has been defined as a pattern of behaviour which involves violence, or other types of abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation.
UN Women (2013) defines domestic violence as "various behavioral patterns from members of the family against other members, which directly or indirectly inflict psychological, physical, verbal or sexual harm”.
The Jamaican SituationThe focus of helping women trapped in these situations has mostly been on provided the resources to rebuild their lives and the lives of their children. While these are critical, little focus is given to address the psychological damage inflicted through domestic violence.
Women experiencing domestic violence need to be able to “talk out” in a safe, protected space, without fear of repercussion or stigmatization; and feel confident that they will be understood and supported during recovery.
The next step we need to take as a nation is remove the stigma attached to being a domestic violence victim by dispelling the myths and acknowledging the trauma these women face. Hearing stories from survivors and supporters will help women currently experiencing these dangerous situations to be more willing to “talk out” and seek the help they need to reclaim their lives.
• Help women speak up about domestic violence and abuse in a safe and protected manner
• Partner with existing organizations to develop new and existing resources for women who need to remove themselves from these situations
• Reduce the likelihood of domestic violence through counselling of teen and young adult men
• Empower teenage and young adult women to identify signs of domestic abuse early and take preventative measures, as needed
Why focus on women?According to the 2014 Global Homicide Book, released by the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 70% of domestic violence fatalities are women. On average, 30% of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner.
Domestic violence against men is a very real problem, however, it is currently not as prevalent (or as reported) as that against women. With women being the more likely partners to feel “trapped” in relationships due to financial circumstances, and women also tending to be the primary caregiver, we thought it best to focus our attention, at this time, on the situation that requires the most focus.