Our mothers and daughters need to be safe
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Dear Editor,
I AM consumed with a plethora of negative emotions after hearing about the brutal murder of a young Corentyne mother at the hands of her former male partner. I’m gripped by anger, sadness, frustration, and anxiety, all in one. But most of all, I feel a sense of helplessness.

For decades, women of Guyana have suffered unspeakable brutality at the hands of their husband/boyfriend who once promised to love them. It all starts off as a fairytale dream with visions for a better life. And it all ends one day because a selfish, irresponsible, and inherently ungodly man cannot accept responsibility for his shortcomings, walk away from an unwanted situation, or take “no” for an answer.

In the time-lapse between the start and the end of these abusive unions are obscene episodes of domestic violence and verbal abuse meted out to the young woman with no one to turn to and nowhere to run. In most cases, it ends only when her life ends.

What systems are in place to protect unsuspecting women who would inevitably fall into this trap ultimately created by a dysfunctional society? Most of these young women are forced to stay in abusive relationships that eventually cost them their lives because they have no one and nowhere else to turn. Unfortunately, we live in a society which despise women who leave failed marriages. Most of the time, they are ashamed to even tell their parents what is being meted out to them in their new home. We have conditioned our minds to the “blame the victim” mentality to the point where we make people feel that something is wrong with them if they are being mistreated. Nothing could be further from the truth! This backward way of thinking only empowers abusers. We must teach our daughters where to draw the line. We must make them understand what’s tolerable and what’s not in a relationship. And we must empower them physically, morally, and financially to leave abusive unions before it’s too late – as in the tragic case of Roma Raju.

But it gets worse. Often, even when the young woman, having been abused and sensing danger, walks away from abusive relationships, the ex-partner threatens to kill her and even makes good on his threat. One classic example of this is the young mother who was murdered in Rose Hall, Corentyne, while going to work. She leaves a child who will now grow up without the care of either mother or father.

What systems are in place to deter these tragedies from reoccurring? Sadly, very little, if any. We’ve tried through the media to educate our young men and women on these subjects to no avail. These beasts in the form of human beings feel empowered to commit these heinous acts because there is no fear of reprisal strong enough to deter them. Most of them don’t even care for their own life and so commit suicide after mercilessly taking another life. The others are sent to prison where they are fed fat on taxpayers’ money for the next 40-odd years.

The Humanitarian Mission Guyana Inc. have already taken great strides in the direction of educating, empowering, and nurturing back to life young women who were victims of domestic abuse. We have already put systems in place for them to learn life-skills education, earn for themselves, and become independent. But we want to do more. We need a stronger deterrent to this plague of Guyanese society. We need to send a stronger message to potential abusers that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated. And it is for this reason that I, Mr. Suresh Sugrim, of the Humanitarian Mission Guyana Inc. is calling on H.E. Dr. Irfaan Ali and the Attorney General of Guyana, Hon. Anil Nandlall, to apply the maximum penalty of the law to this monster who has so painfully robbed a young woman of her precious life. It is my firm opinion that such a move will send a strong message to all potential abusers and murderers out there, that this will not be tolerated in Guyana.

Yours sincerely,
Suresh Sugrim
President HMG Inc.

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