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EDITORIAL: Strengthen laws to root out violence

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: Strengthen laws to root out violence

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Domestic violence is a scourge that must be removed or seriously contained in our society. We wish it was not any part of our society, but human nature being what it is, that would perhaps be an utopian ideal.
We must therefore leave no stone unturned in bringing to public attention the social, physical and emotional damage that is done to the fabric of our family life when such acts take place. Domestic violence and abuse must go!
Our society depends very largely on strong families, and we mean this in the widest sense of “family”, to build strong communities and foster a strong sense of wider national community that will hold the centre of our social relations one with the other.
Our children cannot be properly reared if a warm, nurturing atmosphere in which they can feel loved and be encouraged to reach their highest potential as human beings is missing because the homes in which they are growing up suffer from the kind of dislocating factors present when one parent is constantly insulting and beating the other; or worse, when both parents take turns at abusing each other in physical and emotionally demeaning ways.
We do not condone violence wreaked on men by women; but the real world shows that more often it is the man who physically lashes out and metes out physical violence on the woman, and that is a very disturbing thing.
Children often look to both parents for protection from the world and its evils, but many may expect additional protection from fathers. And many women too expect their male partners to be protectors rather than abusers!
Within the recent past the sheer sickening and wanton waste of precious life lost to domestic violence has dominated the front pages of our newspapers with a frequency that demands we take greater steps to protect those who are abused and complain about it, especially to law enforcement agencies.
We are not yet prepared to join the bandwagon of blaming the police for what is sometimes criticized as tardy action, but it has always been clear that they are often approached as the last straw is “about to break the camel’s back”. In these circumstances, such a persistent abuser is all too often a potential killer, as the evidence shows.
The evidence also shows that women are victims of violent death once these former domestic relationships turn sour. Too many of our men have developed mistaken ideas of ownership and believe “if I can’t have she, then nobody can get she”. That is nonsense on stilts!
We condemn this thinking because it denies our men and women their freedom to associate and to love whom they will. It is not right that lovers or former lovers be held in a sort of malignant captivity and that the penalty for escape is death or violent injury.
We must strengthen all areas of law relevant to this situation and sensitize and train all members of the protective services, especially front desk police officers, to recognize the warning signs when complaints of domestic abuse are made.
There are always warning signs!