Friday 16 November, 2018

A view from the outside: Any man who beats a woman is a coward

                                                                  With Karyl Walker

Jamaica has long been a patriarchal society. Despite the island being one of the few countries which have had a woman leader, Jamaican men still rule the roost.

To be fair, many women have kicked out the glass ceiling and have assumed positions of power in the corporate world and the public sector. Make no mistake about it, women are moving up in Jamaica. Many households are headed by females and in some cases it is the woman who is the breadwinner.

Many of Jamaica’s most famous people have been raised in a single mother household and women have been the backbone of our blessed land. Recent studies have shown that males are being outperformed by females academically and that tertiary institutions are churning out twice as much females as males.

Jamaica seems to be making progress.

But all that can be a threat to some insecure Jamaican men. To some a woman is still an object, a personal possession to be ordered around, used, abused and beaten like a slave. A certain type of Jamaican man will have multiple partners, pay little attention to the daily routine of parenting, refuse to actively participate in housework chores and still beat his woman to a pulp if she as much as smiles with another male.

That is the reality many Jamaican women face and that scenario is not limited to those in the lower income bracket. The Jamaican male can be an insecure beast.

Just last week, word reached me that a female was brutally attacked by her former spouse. The coward clenched a stone betwixt his fist and clouted her about the back of the head, sending the female sprawling to the ground. As if that was not enough, the brute stole the woman’s cellular phone and is reported to have smashed it to pieces. Maybe in an effort to keep any other males from contacting her.

Now this is not a scenario that is unique to Jamaica, but because incidents like these happen there too often, it is the focus of my column this week.

Now maybe that man was overpowered by feelings of rejection, as all reports suggest that the woman had moved on with her life.

“He was a stalker. When they were together, he searched the woman’s phone, deleted all the males from her contact list, took over her social media page and cursed out any men who she was friends with. Some of them were even her relatives. Him was a real watchman. Watched the woman like a guard dog. She could not take it any longer and cut off the relationship,” a source who witnessed the attack told me.

 

Police in the Corporate Area have confirmed that they have received a report of the attack and robbery of the cellular phone. The man now faces charges of assault and robbery with aggravation if he is apprehended, after all the police already have their hands full.

Some years ago, legislation was amended to allow judges in Resident Magistrate’s Courts to sentence men who beat up on women to longer stretches behind bars, but the magistrates’ hands are sometimes tied as the very victims plead for leniency for their abusers who are many times the father of their children.

Judges are still allowed to disregard the complainant’s plea and deliver a custodial sentence but it seems they rarely do.

Domestic abuse is a real problem in Jamaica and is sometimes seen as a part of everyday life in some communities.

Effective action must be taken against those men who beat up on women. In my view, those men are cowards and in most cases cower like wimps if they are faced with the challenge of fighting a man. As is said in Jamaica, they have what is called ‘woman strength’. I have witnessed one man who tried abusing his woman and was the recipient of a sound walloping by the woman and her brothers. He has since transformed into a dutiful chap who shows nothing but love for the same woman.

I certainly hope that the man accused of that attack is collared by law enforcement and justice served.

Jamaican men, we have to do better. Only cowards beat women.

Women need to know that it is not okay for their men to beat them. No one hurts someone they love. If he hits you once or makes the attempt, leave and take out a restraining order. That foolish man may one day take your life.

Jamaican women are in my view, the most beautiful on the planet. They walk, talk, dance and do just about everything with a unique body language. They are our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, daughters, nieces and lovers. There are other ways to prove your superior strength to a woman other than beat her.

As Shaggy says in song: What if God is a woman?

That is my view from the outside.

Karyl Walker is a multi-award-winning journalist who has worked for Loop Jamaica, the Jamaica Observer, the RJR Communications Group and Nationwide Radio among other media entities. He now resides in South Florida.

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