Violence is a public health crisis in Jamaica. It affects all ages and can cause lifelong negative physical, emotional, and financial impacts. As a community, we need to learn more about what triggers violence and also what to do when the trigger is initiated. Crime statistics from the Jamaica Constabulary Force show that, for the most part, violent crimes have decreased when compared to last year. Even with the decrease, Jamaica is still the murder capital of the world. Violence is a big problem we all must tackle together if we want to see meaningful positive change on “The Rock”.
A two-day workshop put on by Transforming Lives & Community (TLC2) focused on violence in our in Jamaica. As explained by the Retired Deputy Commissioner of Police Novelette Grant, the workshop gave each attendee the tools of introspection on the role they might play in perpetuating violence. As with all interventions for the community, a strong and supportive home with self-respect and boundaries makes all the difference. Preventing violence, whether domestic or otherwise, all starts at home. Our children are watching our every move in the house. They learn from everything and everyone around them. So if they see domestic violence as normal behaviour, they will continue the ‘tradition’. We must teach our youth how to walk away from situations that might lead to violence. As parents, we must demonstrate the importance of conflict resolution.
As Bystanders to Violence
Don’t judge a book by its cover. You never know what is going on with a person to make them the way they are. Understanding what people do that is bad is NOT a way to excuse the Behaviour. It’s a way for you to understand them and get them the help they need. As we try to assist, we should not try to get a person to do one thing or another but make ourselves available to them when they are ready to talk, change, etc. Put your ego aside when you are in the “helping business”.
Police officers are not the ones to judge. They are there to offer assistance in finding solutions. It’s the job of the police to ask questions to get information about a situation. Once the information is gathered, a decision will be made regarding what action happens next. They have the power to mediate, provide a citation, detain, or arrest.
At times we find ourselves judging people because of their decisions. Even domestic violence victims have reasons why they are in the situation. Knee-jerk reactions are not conducive to fixing the issue. We must be patient and nonjudgmental. We must also know when we need help to help, which is a critical part of the process.
Retired Deputy Commissioner of Police Novelette Grant stated, “You must educate yourself and question the cultural messages we receive.” We should eliminate so many societal norms as they don’t empower us but break us down. An example of a saying that we need to get rid of is ‘Chicken merry? Hawk deh near!’ It was a way to warn children that something negative will happen because they are having too much fun.
The Way an Abuser Thinks
People abuse to control how a person thinks, feels, and acts. Emotional, sexual, and physical abuse are all linked to domestic violence. Narcissistic people have power over you, thinking, “you feel bad so that I can feel good.” Narcissists are not always aggressive and outright with their actions. They sometimes groom communities as a buffer to them doing wrong. The perpetrator grooms the community to think the abuser is the victim and is acting in Defence.
There were so many real-world examples used during the workshop to highlight abuse. Countermeasures were introduced, interviews of real victims were watched, role-playing with scenarios, etc. The participants had nothing but great things to say about their experience during the workshop. It
These workshops are what we need to empower the stemming of violence in our country to come from the citizens. It’s the only way we will reap the results we want. We have to get involved with the solution and it has to start at home.