(Trinidad Guardian) High Court Judge Frank Seepersad is calling for security and support centers to be set up in communities across the country to help victims of domestic violence.
Delivering a Christmas sermon at St Andrews Presbyterian Church in Princes Town yesterday, Seepersad said the continuing slaughter of T&T women, mostly at male hands, must end.
He also called for a review of certain aspects of religious doctrine related to the subjugation of women and the leadership of men.
Referring to the murder of Ashanti Riley, 18, murdered last month, Seepersad said her death was a reminder that “women continue to be brutally assaulted, mutilated or murdered”.
He noted that “the majority of these horrific crimes may have been committed by misogynist and misguided men.”
Judge Seepersad says there is a need to curb the violence that runs through T&T. “Churches need to rethink their approach to gender-based violence. Women cannot be told to submit to their husbands or to stay in dysfunctional relationships because the bonds of marriage are unbreakable, ”he said.
He added: “Biblical literalism must be replaced with an approach where we seek the broader intention and meaning of the Scriptures. We need to understand that doctrinal attitudes about male leadership can cause men to think that they can exercise dominance over women. As religious organizations, we have an obligation to stress that God does not tolerate domestic violence and that in his eyes there is gender equality because men and women are shaped in his image and likeness. “, did he declare.
If support and safety centers are established in all communities, abused women can get help, Seepersad noted.
He said the definition of masculinity needs to change.
“Our men have to learn to embrace their emotions. Our men need to understand that real men cry, hurt, and it’s okay to ask for help when emotional issues trap us. Mental health problems must be treated, like other health problems, without discrimination or social stigma, ”he said.
The change must also come from the education system, he added.
“Our teachers need to be re-equipped so that they can have discussions about gender sensitivity, equality and respect as they lead our boys on a path that will lead them to become men of whom we can be proud,” he explained.
On the legislative front, Seepersad said laws need to be reviewed.
“Laws must create an enabling environment for the empowerment of women in our country. Legislation needs to be strengthened to ensure that perpetrators of domestic violence are held accountable and do not tolerate gender-based violence, ”he added.
“Mandatory registers of perpetrators of domestic violence should be considered and the information they contain should be publicly available, so that people can be made aware of potential threats,” he said.
Seepersad said that even inside homes, there should never be corporal punishment and unfairness.
“The complicit position of relatives to protect perpetrators of violence in order to save face must be replaced by attitudes whereby the victims are protected and the perpetrators are held to account. Our boys need to learn respect, love and empathy. Cat calls and ‘soot’ must be stopped and men must be encouraged to treat women with dignity and respect, ”Seepersad added.
Most importantly, Seepersad said men must return to God.
Noting that 2020 has been a demanding year, Seepersad said the men at T&T need to motivate, reshape and reshape men to ease the chaos
Saying that people must embrace God again, Seepersad encouraged citizens to imitate Christ and live a life of faith, “which rejects division, hatred and violence and embraces forgiveness, peace and love. “. He urged the congregation to reach out and intervene if women are being abused, and to offer help to abusive men.