One activist is calling for the establishment of adequate rehabilitation spaces for perpetrators of domestic violence.
Programme Coordinator of the Cure Violence Transition TeamGregory Sloane-Seale said the need was dire especially because from a very young age males were not given the requisite tools to learn healthily masculinity.
Sloane-Seale made the call while speaking at a virtual seminar titled: Shades of Domestic Violence, hosted collaboratively by the International Women’s Resource Network (IWRN) and the US Embassy. It’s main focus IWRN director Adriana Issac-Rattan said, was to look at the various types of abuse and casual factors.
The former head of the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CADV) and the single male on the event’s panel, said society had not taught men how to deal with their emotions, leaving them with very little understanding of how they ought to express themselves.
Referring to the misinformed saying “real men don’t cry,” Sloane-Seale said this was, unfortunately, the lesson still being taught to society’s men.
He said it was almost as though, men were taught not to be human.
Using his own experiences, Sloane-Seale said he had to seek counselling after he realised his possessive tendencies in his marriage.
In past relationships, he said although he had never been physically abusive, he would have exercised verbal abuse and controlling behaviour.
He said it was important to note there were other forms of abuse not regularly discussed, but equally harmful to their victims.
These types of abuse included emotional, psychological, financial, isolation, threat and intimidation.
But while Sloane-Seale sought counselling to correct his behaviours, he said many might not have access to such.
He pointed said there were various groups ‘here and there’ that offered programmes for males, but there was nothing on a more consistent, coordinated and national level.
He said the development of such groups to work with perpetrators was imperative.
In making his contribution to the discussion on causal factors of domestic violence, Sloane-Seale said several areas came into play, among them was abuse being a learned behaviour.
“We also have a larger number of abusers who have abused themselves, maybe as children, so they are just repeating the cycle of abuse experienced in their development. In some cases, abuse may not have been directed to them, but growing up in a family where parents or guardians were involved in physical, verbal, emotional abuse can predispose an individual to become an abuser,” he explained.
He said social media and pornography also contributed to the exacerbation of an abusive and violent culture. Via these digital portals, Sloane-Seale said often women were presented and viewed as objects.
There have been several domestic violence-related killings of women in T&T since the start of 2020.
Last Thursday, the latest case presented itself in the killing of Venezuelan national Johandry Espinosa, whose husband, a 42-year-old Cuban national, employed at the Embassy of Venezuela, subsequently confessed to strangling Espinosa during an argument.
The panel, which also included domestic violence survivors who shared their stories, looked at several other areas including the need for education on domestic violence from an institutional to community-based level, better-trained first responders, abuse trauma rehabilitation centers, better social support services, better legislation and the enforcement of laws as it pertained to domestic violence.
Deputy public relations affairs officer at the US embassy, Naureen Naila, also made a call; to have a more community coordinated response to domestic violence.