THERE?is concern about the number of domestic violence calls received in teenage and same-sex relationships, says Bureau of Gender Affairs director Patricia Hackett-Codrington.
Speaking to the DAILY NATION yesterday after a church service to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, Hackett-Codrington said that while the problem of heterosexual violence among older adults still existed, the new worry was for teen lovers and same-sex couples.
Although the bureau director had only “anecdotal reports” and “no documented proof”, she said the information had been coming from well placed sources in various women organizations providing counselling or shelter for battered women.
Hackett-Codrington said the teen cases in particular showed a “learnt behaviour”.
“I cannot put a figure on the number of cases, but it is happening and when it starts at this age, then it usually continues,” she stated.
On the same-sex relationships, the director said they too, like the usual heterosexual relationships, were based on power, where one partner usually assumed the dominant male role. The Gender Bureau director added that like in heterosexual relationships, same-sex partners were sometimes very passionate and at times rows ended in the death of one or the other.
Hackett-Codrington said while it was easier to document cases that fell under the Domestic Violence Act (married couples and couples living with each other) than those under the Offences Against the Person Act (partners not living together), the reality was that domestic violence was still raising its ugly face.
She said the last domestic violence survey commissioned by CADRES in 2009 indicated that 33 per cent of women were still being abused by their partners, but these statistics only accounted for married citizens or those who were living with each other, not taking into account “visiting relationships”.
Hackett-Codrington said it was against this background that women’s organizations were fighting to get all abuse cases to fall under the Domestic Violence Act, to have fuller information on the abuse.
Jennifer Johnson, ministry director of the Women Of Purpose Organization, to be officially launched tonight at Bagnall’s Point Gallery, said her group was one that constantly received calls because of domestic violence and abuse.
Johnson also noted the concern over teenage and same-sex relationships.
She said she was shocked that women were still believing the myth that “when a man beats them he loves them”.
Johnson, a trained counsellor, said from talking to some of the victims she had detected low self-esteem as a contributing factor to women staying in abusive relationships.
“They dress up nice but they do not think they are the special creatures that God has made them and a lot of it stems from verbal abuse they would have received as children,” she argued.
Johnson said there was degree of violence among lesbians and homosexuals that seemed balanced on both sides.
“It is an alarming situation,” she said.
Johnson added that although she did have a team of trained counsellors who were operating for the last three years, at times the cases were so many that she often referred some of them to Family Heartbeat Ministries.