Recent murders have sparked conversation on the number of existing shelters for victims of intimate partner violence in Jamaica. A call is now being made for the government to establish more shelters for women to find a safe haven and recover from domestic violence. The call comes from the Women’s Media Watch and a development specialist who have disclosed that there is only one functioning shelter in the country.
There is some evidence to suggest that women in abusive situations do not leave unless there is another place to go -In a country like Jamaica what options do they have when there is only one functioning shelter? It is the view of a development specialist at the University of the West Indies Open Campus, Taitu Heron who is asking the questions: what about women with children and limited economic means, who are in need for counseling in order to get on their feet?
She says it is clear that the government recognizes domestic violence as a serious issues plaguing the country, however it is unmatched by services and resources. Her view is shared by a co founder of the women’s media watch who is of the belief that more shelters are needed.
“We have now for several years to thank the Women Inc for this. We have different Government are coming in and expecting to build these shelters. We have not seen it happening. We know that the current Government has identified space but we really need to do more on this,” says Women’s Media Watch Co-founder, Patricia Donald Phillips.
Barely two weeks into the year: a woman was shot and killed by her partner in Manchester.
In St Catherine, a Jamaica Defence Force soldier killed his common-law wife then committed suicide. Hours later in St Elizabeth, a woman was fatally stabbed by her ex boyfriend. According to Patricia Phillips, domestic violence is an indication that men and women require help to solve issues.
“A man has to learn to walk away. Churches, religious organisations, have to learn how to support couples that are having conflict. It is not about staying there and facing it. We have to find ways to resolve it,” she says.
These women are calling for government intervention as they believe that having a man imprisoned for abuse is not sufficient to end the cycle of violence.
Khadijah Thomas is an energetic and charismatic news reporter and the producer of weekly feature: Missing. Khadijah is a passionate about news and current affairs and has a particular interest social justice and education.