Men’s Affairs Bureau to intensify fight against domestic violence : Kaieteur News

Men’s Affairs Bureau to intensify fight against domestic violence By Rehanna Ramsay In the wake of the vicious attacks on several women by their domestic partners, the Ministry of Human Services Men’s Affairs Bureau (MAB) has upped the ante to tackle the issues of gender-based violence. During a recent interview with this newspaper, MAB Administrator Diego Alphonso disclosed that the department will be intensifying its campaign on the topic.

“We are continuing our campaign, but now we have to strengthen our outreach, in that we have to go back into some communities, secondary schools, sports clubs churches, mosques, and wherever men congregate to mobilise groups that would help tackle the issues of domestic and gender-based violence.” While many believe that the system has failed especially men in this regard, Alphonso said that the involvement and partnership of several sectors of society is also pertinent to eradicating this scourge. “Society needs to be more sensitive and concerned about their fellowmen; the police stations, the religious institutions and even the schools have the responsibility in addressing the scourge of domestic violence by methods necessary. Because we want to encourage our men to reach out, even if not to us, to someone, a religious leader or anyone they may feel comfortable with” Alphonso explained that based on his experience, working with the Bureau, men are often affected by several issues which may sometimes include spousal abuse, whether it be physical, emotional or physiological. “Society is often not kind or understanding to men, given that we are traditionally taught that ‘real men don’t cry, complain or show emotions’ because it says that they are weak. Thus if a man has a problem of some sort with his partner, he would seldom reach out for help or he finds it hard to seek therapy or talk to someone… For example, if a man is being abused by his spouse, he may not feel comfortable going to the police about it, because he fears being ridiculed and sometimes suppressed issues can end in violence. The administrator revealed that since the establishment of the Bureau in 2010, there have been some mixed responses, on the part of men. “A woman may come on behalf of a man who needs help …Initially when men come alone and eventually bring their partners along, we get down to the root cause of the issue. In most cases both parties have their shortcomings. We always highly commend the men who seek help in such cases, because situations may conclude in tragedy if they don’t…Indeed, men have their stories, but regardless of that, we always emphasize that nothing a woman does justifies any form of violence.” “We working continually, going into the communities where we network with persons and groups who can provide adequate counseling and information to assist these men.” At least nine women have been murdered at the hands of spouses this year. The victims include Angela McAllister, Shaneza Ramdatt, Patricia Williams Bagot, Geeta Diane Bhishundial and Bibi Shameena Deen. Recently, a 26-year old man chopped to death his five-year-old daughter and her two-year-old brother. Their mother’s right hand was severed and the fingers from her left hand were cut-off. The incident occurred at Zeelugt Squatting Area home. The epidemic continued as a Sophia man attacked four female family members Last Saturday, news of a murder/suicide rocked the village of Mahaica, ECD. Relatives and neighbours made the gruesome discovery of the body of 26-year-old Vanessa Richmond-James with her hands and feet bound, and her throat slit. The woman’s husband ingested poison and succumbed. On Thursday, an 18 year old allegedly bludgeoned his girlfriend with a spade before hacking the 17-year-old to death. The Men’s Affairs Bureau was established within the Ministry of Labour, Human Services & Social Security with the responsibility of partnering, organizing and coordinating the activities of men to achieve their full potential as participants in Guyana’s social, cultural and economic development.

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