By Yvonne Sam
Social and Political Commentator
In 2015, I wrote an article denouncing the rising rate of femicide in Guyana, and called on, not only the government, but also certain organizations, to make efforts to ensure that we stamped out the seeming Guyanese curse — that of our men being responsible for putting our women in hearses. www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2015/12/05/guyanese-women-find-themselves-in-a-catch-22-situation-2/
To strengthen my point, I made an impassioned plea for a moratorium — a move that fell not only on deaf ears, but also on hardened and reluctant minds, as the latest newspaper report revealed the startling fact that 10 Guyanese women, at home and abroad, have been killed in the first five months of the current year.
The home has also become a dangerous place for women as well as for children, as almost all cases of femicide/uxoricide occurred in the home, after the female ended the relationship, announced her intention to do so, or was suspected of infidelity.
The perpetrators continue to operate with no risk of being punished, as clearly, the government has failed to show that it has a constructive pla,n aimed at stemming the flow.
The simplicity of prevailing views point to violence towards women as a form of control, a behavior intended to ensure obedience and to express authority and power. What then is the underlying explanation for these extreme manifestations of twisted male possessiveness, and blatant absence of emotional maturation?
No longer can the government of Guyana, its criminal justice system, and legal advocates explain away this scourge, by referring to a single, central variable, such as male possessiveness or jealousy. For not only is such a mode of thinking simplistic and partial, but outmoded at best.
The murders must be viewed and understood as a phenomenon, imbedded in a certain variety of factors, that amalgamate and create the conditions for murder. How do we deal with love? Or how are we to deal with love?
The conundrum lies in the reality that in the name of love, women are no longer desirous of remaining and/or being intimate with their male partners, and in the name of love, they are being murdered by these same male partners.
It is obvious that the woman is seen as the partner’s whole world and the bane of his existence. Therefore, amorously stated, if his ability to see himself as a human being, depends on the female being part of his life, how can he let her go? Love has converted her into a hostage of sorts — a hostage to the life of the male — thereby putting her own life at risk.
The act of committing suicide, on account of unrequited love, is not an uncommon story; in fact, some even regard it as the ideal display of true love.
Are lengthy periods of incarceration the panacea? Is the eye for eye rule applicable? What has love got to do with it? Love is like a loaded gun! The lyrics of many love songs may be no more than mere superficial cliches about love, but when these same cliches are genuinely adopted, with no attention to reality, then it does become a loaded gun.
The call is now being sounded for a rigorous reexamination of punishment outcomes for the perpetrators of femicide, as well as the implementation and application of therapy for children, who may have been subjected to the ongoing domestic abuse, witnessed or survived the attack that finally claimed the life of their mother.
Attributable to the current displayed ineptitude of the government in halting such abuse of the solitary child-bearing representatives of the future generation, may be a disregard for gender equality and female rights — seemingly the product of a hegemonic gender ideology, tolerant of extreme violence against women.
A nation continues to weep, while the government and justice system appear to be asleep. The wave of femicide would only stop, when harsh and unparalleled measures are meted out, from the top.
Who will stem the tide in the rising rate of femicide? In the absence of a visible concrete plan, everything has become seemingly out of hand.
Surely the males would continue to kill without fear, since no one really seems to care. However, this fact we must deduce — that a generation we will reduce, by continuing to eradicate the only sex that can produce.
Yvonne Sam, a retired Head Nurse and Secondary School Teacher, is Vice-president of the Guyana Cultural Association of Montreal. A regular columnist for over two decades with the Montreal Community Contact, her insightful and incursive articles on topics ranging from politics, human rights and immigration, to education and parenting have also appeared in the Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, XPressbogg and Guyanese OnLine. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Citizen Award.