As the world begins to observe 16 days of activism to reduce violence against women, Trinidad and Tobago is facing the reality that one in three women who have been in intimate partnerships with men, experiences some form of domestic violence.
President of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Roberta Clarke, says as of November, at least 30 women have been killed by their partners, for this year alone.
She describes such statistics on violence against women in this country as alarming.
“Data from the police suggests that between 2011 and 2016, over 4,500 reports of sexual assault were made. We know that there is significant under-reporting—by 84% according to the survey,” she points out. “My estimation of that under-reporting means that what we are in effect having is four sexual assaults a day, in this country.”
She adds: “Over 1,300 reports of child sexual abuse were made to the Children’s Authority last year. These are alarming and outrageous statistics.”
Roberta Clarke wants to see the police to take a more pro-active approach to reports of domestic violence.
She cites the 2018 case of Abigail Chapman of La Brea, in which Abigail, along with her landlord, her mother and her daughter, were murdered after she had filed a report with police that her life had been threatened.
“We are saying to the police, where you have intelligence that a crime has been committed, you should arrest. When you arrest,” Roberta Clarke explains, “you can do a risk assessment to determine if the man is lethal. You also can bring in Social Services for that person. And then of course, you can assess whether the person gets bail or not. But police have to improve; they just must.”
The CADV president believes a complete cultural and systemic change in society is needed to end domestic violence.
She notes that men and women are taught that men are to be in charge of everything in their world, including their women and children.
She says that translates into men believing they own their women and children and have the right to do with them as they wish, which often leads to deadly outcomes for those women and children.
Story by NEWS DESK