WOMEN and children are often seen as “second class citizens”. The way in which society responds to and treats them is often very hostile and disrespectful. We see this truth almost daily, not only in our homes and communities, but also in our politics.
Examples of the way society largely views women was recently seen with the Guyana Teachers’ Union responses to the current and previous ministers of education. The chants and various media that came out of those events were incredibly sexist and violent, sending an unfortunate message regarding the way we should address differences with each other.
One of the foundations for community care is creating an environment for healthy communication. This ensures not only that persons are able to settle misunderstandings in a respectful manner, but also provides a great model for young children coming up, as their environment ultimately shapes them. If it is that we continue to display negative behaviours, it is more likely that children will also begin to exhibit similar negative traits amongst their peers, and which they will take into adulthood.
Children deserve good role models and women deserve to be treated with respect, even in times of conflict. Responses to conflict that rely on physical or verbal abuse just helps to continue the cycle of violence as both children and adults see it as the normal and “just” thing to do. This type of thinking is also behind the culture of victim blaming that exists within our society. Many survivors of abuse are often reluctant to share their stories, as they do not believe they will get the type of support that they need. Unfortunately, they are often right, as a lot of people continue to hold the view that if someone was abused, they might have been asking for it or had done something to cause the person to abuse them.
There needs to be more care and support in the way we treat each other on every level. It might often sound simplistic, but it is only through sustained acts of kindness, concern and accountability that we will be better able to create safe and healthy communities.
Blue Umbrella Consultant, ChildLinK
To report or seek counseling, please call 914/227-0979/227-2023/233-3500