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Today, while heading to the bank I walked passed the Offences Court and I was surprise to see the number of youths facing charges. I immediately felt sick to my stomach as one after the other they stood up to be remanded for theft, given bail for drugs, domestic violence, and gun possession – just to name a few. As we say in Dominica, some of these young people don’t know their head from their rear and they’re already pleading guilty to some shocking crimes.

It appears there are too many angry youths out there who are under the impression that there is only one way to resolve conflicts- violence! Too make matters worse, there was several middle aged men (I’m talking about full-grown men) answering to charges. We’re always quick to cry down the youth, but the older ones are too busy being prefect role models for them to follow. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of people out there that youths can look up too.

Looking on, I saw several mothers crying for their sons and I felt some sympathy for them. As I stand there, I could help noticing the absence of these children fathers – which suggests the minimal role these fathers’ play in the life of these children if any. I can’t help wondering about the level of discipline taught in these homes and if warning signs were brush aside because the parent/s could not recognize or simply cast a blinded eye – then we’re truly ‘reaping what we sow’ and it’s quite frightening.

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For many years the attitude in Dominica towards men “chastising” their women to where it is now seen as physical abuse, is an example of how perceptions change. For generations, a number of Dominican women, without seeing themselves as masochistic, often voiced their appreciation of a man who gave them some “licks or beatings”. They saw this as a sign that the man cared for them, and if not he would have been indifferent to the others.

Weird as it sounds, this type of thinking is not far removed from that where we commend chastisement (corporal punishment) of children as a necessary result of caring for them. While a woman is not a child, the idea that “love” was what prompted the beatings appealed not only to some men, but the women being beaten as well, perhaps in an attempt to rationalise the experience.

Nowadays, no such ideas are favoured and female magistrates have warned that they will be dealing harshly with men who beat women. I’m anticipating that if the shoe is on the other foot, where it is the woman who is found guilty of beating her man, will the court also not be amused. I’ve heard on many instances where men have reported abuse from women – and these cases were never investigated.

The law warns that matters “of a domestic nature are not going to be treated lightly by the courts,” and advised people about the need to be clear about ending relationships. It is the growing tendency of many relationships to have physical abuse as a feature that is causing concern. The idea of men beating up women and then kissing and making up or vise-versa is not encouraged these days, maybe because a growing number of such situations have been getting out of hand, sometimes with fatal results.

What is ironic about those who find themselves in a “chastising” mode is that it is always the weaker partner who usually is chastised. The stronger one, however wrong or “deserving of being chastised”, need have no such worry or fear.

On the other hand, some men wouldn’t dare lift their hands in anger towards certain women who they know will not take it lying down. There is a saying which goes “Money don’t climb prickle Trees” – men who beat women usually know the ones they can safely beat up without the women fighting back. They will not risk beating certain women since they know they will suffer physically as a result.

This is why when men beat up their women it is often said that they “take advantage of the women”, while in truth it is not the women these men “take advantage of” but the situation. However much men enjoy beating up women, they know that in certain situations it would be unwise to do so…Come on guys we’re are better than this – lets love and respect our queens.

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