Tricia Ramsaran

Urging women in abusive situations to speak out, a women’s right organisation is also calling on the State to set up a national public awareness campaign on domestic violence.

The International Women’s Resource Network (IWRN) issued a press statement yesterday following the murder of Barrackpore mother of one Tricia Ramsaran, 37, on June 9

Ramsaran never complained to her relatives about being physically abused and she hid her domestic problems from her co-workers.

Ramsaran made no reports to the police and did not apply for a protection order.

Urging women to stop concealing their abusive situation particularly if their lives are under threat, IWRN stated, “Far too often women view abusive language and bouts of physical assaults as mainstream in their intimate relationships and that must stop.”

The organisation warned that the occurrence of any type of abuse, whether verbal or physical, must not be tolerated as that leads to fatality.

The IWRN, which works intimately with women in raising their levels of awareness, recommended a state-led national public awareness campaign, adequately supported by civil society organisations working in the field of domestic violence.

It stated, “The national community must also begin to change the framing of their comments and utterances made in referencing victims of domestic violence as, in many instances, those utterances at times suggest that the violent situation was encouraged by the victims.”

In the statement issued by president Adriana Sandrine-Rattan, the IWRN also expressed its deep concern that Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has failed to respond to its recommendations made two years ago for legislative changes to the Domestic Violence Act.

Lamenting the broken judicial system that “sometimes allow perpetrators to run free” and the non-establishment of shelters for domestic violence victims, the IWRN intended to communicate their concerns to the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday.

In the detailed correspondence sent to Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi on June 21, 2018 in which the IWRN recommended an increase in penalties for offences under the Act (Part V – Enforcement of Orders).

IWRN recommended that for first conviction an increase in the fine from $9,000 to $50,000 and increased imprisonment from three months to five years; second conviction— an increase from $15,000 to $50,000; and 24 months to 10 years and subsequent convictions be increased from five years to 15 years.

The IWRN also made recommendations on how to move protection orders from beyond being just “a piece of paper” to effectively protecting abused women.

The organisation urged women in abusive relationships to report all incidents to the IWRN’s hotline – 2686078; TTPS’ Gender-Based Violence Unit – 999 or the Domestic Violence Hotline – 800 SAVE.

Ramesh Sieunarine, a 50-year-old PH taxi driver has since been charged with Ramsaran’s murder