The numbers don’t lie.
Domestic violence in the Cayman Islands is getting out of control.
We found out during the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence that there have been 180 cases of domestic violence reported to police up to 22 November; that’s 67 more cases than in all of 2008.
And those are just the cases that are reported.
No doubt there are cases of domestic violence in the Cayman Islands that never get police attention because that 911 call isn’t made or no one reports their suspicions.
The Observer on Sunday must give kudos to Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Commissioner David Baines for his zero-tolerance stance on domestic violence.
Under his watch, those who commit domestic violence won’t get any breaks. They’ll be arrested, plain and simple, and they will be processed through the judicial system.
We also have to give a pat on the back to the courts system. Perpetrators of domestic violence who do go to court can be ordered to undertake mandatory counselling where they learn about anger management and attend group therapy sessions. Families are included and together determine if the offenders can be rehabilitated back into the familial setting.
But it’s not all up to the police and the court system.
Domestic violence is everyone’s business. Many abusers do so because they came from abusive homes.
We have to start with taking a good hard look at what we are teaching our children. Turn off the violent programmes on the television; monitor the songs they are hearing over the radio; mothers and fathers must treat each other with dignity and respect While there is reported pending legislation, lawmakers must ensure that any revision to the old domestic violence law has meat and teeth.
We also must get our schools, churches and workplaces involved in implementing intervention programmes.
Domestic violence is an ugly issue and one that is raising its head more often in the Cayman Islands.
Our fear is that with the upcoming holiday season, there will be more violence in homes as money is tight and Christmas expectations aren’t met.
If you are aware of a domestic violence situation, talk to someone about it and find help.
It’s time for each of us to understand that violence in our homes, schools and communities is our business.
Together we can put an end to domestic violence, and we must.