Magazine article Washington Report on the Hemisphere

Guyana: Domestic Violence Rages On

Magazine article Washington Report on the Hemisphere

Guyana: Domestic Violence Rages On

Article excerpt

On May 26, Lauren Pak published a study of 16 countries with the Latin American Public Opinion Project at Vanderbilt University that found one in four individuals condone or understand a husband hitting his wife if she has neglected her chores. Guyana scored third highest within this study, with 30.8 percent condoning the domestic violence. Along similar lines, the Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awareness (CADVA) organization revealed that, in Guyana, over the first five months of 2016, 10 women have already been killed by their ex-partner, boyfriend, or husband. Both of these statistics highlight the ongoing violence towards women in Guyana and show that the laws currently in place are not strong enough to dissuade domestic violence perpetrators. In the face of the high rates of domestic violence, the government should work to change the tradition of domestic violence as a private affair. In addition, Guyana's government should tackle the insufficient laws and realize that the gender-based violence is not purely domestic violence; it is femicide, and crimes need to be recognized for what they are. Femicide-the deliberate and violent killing of a woman-is precisely what is occurring in Guyana.

On June 6, Guyanese Minister of Social Protection Volda Lawrence said, in response to the 10 deaths this year, "it seems that war is being waged with our womenfolk falling victim to the most treacherous weapons." Guyanese President David Granger has also expressed his concern that despite being able to reduce the overall violent crime rate, his administration has been unsuccessful in lowering the rate of domestic violence. This sentiment has been repeated by the volunteer program director, Rosheni Takechandra, of WITNESS International Program, an art-based NGO working to stop the cycle of violence towards women and children. In an interview with Global Voices regarding Guyana's domestic violence, Takechandra asserted, "it's an abusive and a very aggressive culture, verbally, even physically and the newspapers attest to that when you see the level of violence in Guyana."

Unfortunately, Guyana's nonchalance towards problems of domestic violence is not only socially accepted; it is also engrained into the country's laws. Guyana's laws regarding domestic violence are insufficient and do not offer proper protection against the gender-based violence. Specifically, the Domestic Violence Act, chapter 11:09 states:

An act to afford protection in cases involving domestic violence by the granting of a protection order, to provide the police with powers to arrest where a domestic violence offence occurs and for matter connected therewith or incidental thereto.

In other words, under the Domestic Violence Act the only outcome of a domestic violence case is that the perpetrators will have a restraining order against them. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.