Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The War Against Women and Children in the Bahamas Rages On

The war against women and children in the Bahamas rages on. Another young person has been murdered in Nassau, this time a fifteen year old girl stabbed to death in her home in a family quarrel. The papers say the father is assisting with the investigation and we know what that means. It has only been a few weeks since the murder of a 12 year old boy and as far as I know no one has been charged with that murder. Now another family is suffering unbearable loss, another child has fallen in war. Because make no mistake. This is a war alright. A war against women and children . And two children are the latest casualties. The war against women and children in The Bahamas has been raging on behind closed doors and out in the streets for years and years, now it is at at a nightmarish level. This war that was dismissed for years as "domestic" violence is by far the biggest and most damaging social problem we have and it is destroying us all. (Don't cal this latest child killing an incidence of "domestic" violence. Don't trivialize the violence that so many women and children endure in this town with this passe and dangerously dismissive labeling of the epidemic. Somehow the word infers that there is real violence, the kind worth dealing with, and then there is the domestic kind. Violence in the home is real indeed. And it is the most insidious kind too because people pretend they cannot see it. Take the Prime Minister for example, who addressed the nation on crime when the boy was found murdered and announced sweeping reform to combat violent crime but never mentioned that women and children are the primary victims of violent crime. He blamed illegal firearms and drugs for the violence, not the hoards of angry, violent, disaffected Bahamian men who commit these crimes, who were probably raised in homes that were torn apart by violent men. He never mentioned the child abuse epidemic that has gripped this country for all my adult life. In the precious little public discourse that we do have about the war against women and children we always manage to leave out these critical details, leaders always fail to make tjese connections. I want to hear more talk about the MEN WHO ARE COMMITTING THE VIOLENT CRIMES. Who are they? Where do they come from? Here's a shocker. They are us. They come from us.

Nothing irritates me more than people who talk about crime like they don't know where the criminals come from. Like they mysteriously dropped out of the sky into our idyllic little island town full of perfect people. They wax on about the good old days of the tamarind switch and the cat o' nine tails and the fact that children were regularly whipped at home and also by any neighbour who felt like hitting someone who could not fight back. They talk about how great Nassau used to be and how they don't know what happened. Here's a direct quote from one of those fools: "In the Nassau I grew up in people trembled at the mere mention of the cat o' nine tails and tamarind switch ruled many backsides and we thank God to this day as most of us turned out pretty good and are law abiding." Really? Who then is committing the terrible crimes of today? This self-righteous pinhead had the nerve to go on to say that his generation "instilled character, strength and virtue" with all the tamarind switch beatings and whippings. Say what? Apparently his generation has instilled anger, hatred, despair and violent criminal behaviour. The older generation needs to stop bragging about the violence they grew up in, get conscious and begin to take some responsibility for the mess they made of things. Bahamians need to understand that beating children is not a virtue but a crime. It was then and is now. And why do they talk like Bahamian children are not being beaten any longer? They are still brutalized every day, we call it the child abuse epidemic. But these days the abusers no longer use a tamarind switch. Now they use rape. Now they use a knife.

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