The Gender Affairs Department staged a ‘Say No To Domestic Violence’ march along the streets of Providenciales on Saturday, October 23, which was followed by a number of speeches, including from the Youth Department and Police Department.
Ushered by members of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force along the Leeward Highway, the small band of marchers, braving the mid-afternoon sun, and led by Gender Affairs Officer Dr. Cutella Talbot, trekked from the FirstCaribbean Bank to Butterfield Square, chanting: “Say No To Domestic Violence”, and “That’s Not Love”.
At Butterfield Square, the marchers heard from Carolyn Dickenson, Director of the Department of Gender Affairs. Dickenson outlined the numerous abuses, including emotional, psychological, economic, and physical.
She argued that emotional, psychological and economical abuses are just as bad as physical abuse.
“…But most times most people focus on the physical aspect,” she said, noting that the Gender Affairs Department continues to educate the public and advocate for those who have suffered such abuses.
For her part, Jasmine Thomas, Director of the Department of Youth Affairs, said the theme for the event, “Say no to domestic violence”, was befitting of the current era.
“This thing is fitting for Millennials and Generation Z, because we often find that this generation considers the ‘roughing up’, as we call it locally, as a form of love,” she said.
Parker repeated the lyrics of a very popular song to capture the meting out and tolerance of domestic violence, to drive her point home.
“Youth take slapping, shoving, or pushing as a joke. But it is a small act that can turn into a very serious domestic violence situation,” she said.
Michelle Goslyn, Constable of Police attached to the Safeguarding and Public Protection Unit, said the police has a vital role to play in assisting victims of domestic abuse to follow through on their decision to seek recourse of the abuse.
“The police act as an important link to both the prosecution process and the provision of services to victims in the Community. Although for many victims of domestic violence, the police might be the last resort, is often the first point of contact when a victim decides to take that first bold step toward seeking redress,” she said.
Also in attendance was Jaron Harvey, Manager of the Probation and Rehabilitation Unit. He told the gathering that since strong families build strong communities, and strong communities build strong countries, we must push to end domestic violence.
“And so, the Probation and Rehabilitation Unit, which is charged with the responsibility of rehabilitating offenders, is promoting public safety and upholding victims’ rights.
“We work with perpetrators of domestic violence to change the idea and the attitudes that manifest inside their relationships, to promote healthy relations, and to also stop the cycle of violence from repeating itself,” he said.
He noted that research and study show that children who were exposed to domestic violence are likely to grow up to become perpetrators or victims of domestic violence themselves.
Harvey added that the responsibility of the Probation and Rehabilitation Unit is to expose perpetrators of domestic violence to programmes, through which they can release their anger and change their attitudes.
A speech from Dr. Dawn O’Sullivan of Menzies Medical Practice, regarding advocating for an end to domestic violence was read by Dr. Talbot.
Shanique Been, Research Officer of the Gender Affairs Department, delivered a poignant poem, which speaks to ending the practice of violence, including spousal abuse.