Rhondall Feeles

President of The Father’s Association of T&T Rhondall believes the constant calls for an end to violence against women has somehow desensitised this country to violence toward men.

Speaking to Guardian Media yesterday Feeles said the country needed to seek an end to violence against everyone and not just any specific group.

“Every single citizen deserves to be safe from violence,” he said.

Feeles said he was disheartened to see the lack of any meaningful response to the shooting death of teen boys Akid Duke and Christopher Cummings who were killed in separate incident last week.

On Thursday, Duke was shot dead in Bon Air Gardens, Arouca while he playing games on his phone as he was seated in a car waiting for his mother Afeisha to complete a job interview.

On Tuesday Cummings was found dead under a pile of galvanise sheets in a park off Achong Trace, Tunapuna. His family reported him missing the previous Friday.

Feeles said there was no empathy or calls for vigiils for the two murdered teens.

“It really has troubled me and this organisation to see young boys would have been slaughtered, even men would have been slaughtered, and yet there is no response, no vigil, no concern, no statements by parliamentarians, no statements made,” Feeles said.

He said while this was disappointing it was not surprising.

“Until we understand we need to handle this thing in its entirety and holistically and call for an end to violence for man, woman, and child we will continue to keep wasting time and keep having once in a while vigils and not dealing with the real cause of the problem,” Feeles said.

“We know and we understand the value and importance of advocating for an end to violence toward women. But because I think we have predominantly only done so it has somehow seemed to have desensitised our society toward violence against men,” he said.

As a result violence against men has now become something “normal or accepted,” Feeles said.

“Where we see men die daily and we perceive if a young man dies by the hand of a gun or by a knife or whatsoever, apart from a few domestic issues where a woman may have taken the life of her husband or whatever, we believe that it has to be gang-related or drug-related,” Feeles said.

“If you do however examine 440 men or so died last year and a similar amount the year before when you exam not even 50 per cent, a lot less of those are actually related to gang violence,” he said.

Feeles said men are the ones who suffer the most violence in this country.

“Yet it does not raise any kind of emotion or empathy from society it is just another man die,” he said.

“And that is why I think while I understand the call for an end to violence against women because we are not calling for an end to all violence because we all suffer violence we all can be perpetrators and we all can be victims of violence,” he said.

“Unless we treat with the root causes of violence the lack of emotional intelligence in our society from man to man, woman to woman, man to woman, woman to man, we are not going to deal with this issue called violence,” he said.

Feeles said the nation is suffering from violence.

“If we continue to let gender separate violence we will continue to have sensitivity when one gender dies and no sensitivity when the other,” he said.

Feeles said this may cross over to sensitivity for “race and socio-economic standings.”