TTPS Gender-Based Violence Unit (GBVU) Shireen Pollard

There are renewed calls for urgent steps to change the culture and attitude towards women in society.

This follows the recent discovery of the bodies of two missing women, mother of three Krystal Primus-Espinoza and Ashanti Riley, 18.

For the year so far, 46 women have been killed, with 22 of them being domestic violence-related attacks.

In an interview with Guardian Media yesterday, Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CADV) general manager Sabrina Mowlah-Baksh said the most effective way to tackle domestic violence is by changing the way society views women.

“Although we don’t admit it readily, we still operate within deeply entrenched systems of patriarchy, where males are privileged and where males still see women as property, as possession,” Mowlah-Baksh said.

She said this is because men believe they have power and authority over women.

Through the education system and family life, she said children must be taught from as early as kindergarten that this way of thinking is wrong.

“We really have to start with the education process and the socialisation process and we really have to include teaching and learning, starting as early as pre-school. We have to integrate it into our curriculum.”

Sharing a similar view TT Police Service’s Gender-Based Violence Unit (GBVU) manager Shireen Pollard, who said women are not only victims of domestic violence.

“We are seeing that women are being attacked, violated and murdered simply for being a woman and this is the definition of gender-based violence,” Pollard said.

“So, when we talk about public awareness and speaking to the public of domestic violence, we need to look at the bigger picture on what our society’s attitude is towards women and in the culture that we have now, where we do nothing but objectify women sexually, physically.”

She said this negative attitude towards women is exactly what is translating into violence against women.

“Men are looking at women as a certain object for a certain purpose. We are not being seen as equals.”

Pollard said it requires a culture change and that would not happen overnight.

“We have failed as a village in protecting our women. No longer it’s men protecting women, women need to protect each other,” she added.

Since the launch of the GBVU in January, she said there had been approximately 250 arrests and 300 charges against perpetrators.

“I really want the message to go out there that our cultural attitude towards women is one of the main reasons why we have this violence against women,” Pollard said.

International Women’s Resource Network (IWRN) president Adriana Sandrine Isaac-Rattan meanwhile made an appeal to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, via Facebook, to deal seriously with violence against women.

“Honourable Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, we’re pleading with you, the government and the opposition to come together with all relevant stakeholders to do what’s necessary to protect our women and also help our men sooner rather than later.”

She said it cannot be business as usual when there are monsters masking as humans.

“WHERE IS THE NATIONAL GAME-PLAN TO PROTECT OUR WOMEN? We’re approaching the end of 2020 and still unable to deep-dive into the minds of men who are troubled and insecure and who believe that the only way to unleash their anger is to take the lives of INNOCENT WOMEN???”