May 07, 2013 - Interpersonal Violence3667 07 May, 2013
May 07, 2013 - INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE
Ms. Selman: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to offer my support to the motion, Interpersonal Violence, standing in the name of the Hon. Member, Mrs. Deborah Backer. The explosion of violence is a complex phenomenon with many interacting forces at play. This virus of violence is occurring worldwide and has reached epidemic proportions in Guyana. Violence in our communities reflects the social decay of our society. On a daily basis, we read stories of police brutality, soldiers out of control, husbands killing wives and women forced to defend themselves, parents killing children and children killing parents.
The latest example of violence against children left us dumbfounded. I was extremely saddened, as I am sure we all were, by the murder of Fenella Samuels, the 14-year-old girl by her stepfather; may her soul rest in peace.
Where is all this violence coming from, despite our Domestic Violence Act, our Sexual Offences Act and other resolutions passed in this Parliament, despite existing programmes in the Ministries? Community safety is one of APNU’s top priorities. Guyanese deserve to be safe in their homes as well as the streets. All people should stand together against injustice, abuse and violence inflicted on others. Guyana needs to do more to protect all victims – women, children, youths, seniors and men – from violence and other forms of abuse. It is time the National Assembly pays closer attention to this wave of hatred and short tempers and go beyond passing legislations and resolutions. It is clear that our current laws are not working well enough to protect victims and this is not unique to Guyana since research has shown that globally violence in all forms accounts for over 1.5 million deaths per year, some 90% of which occur in low and middle income countries. This total can be broken down into 52% due to suicide, 35.5% due to homicide and just over 12% as a direct result of war or some other form of conflict. The statistics indicate that most of the deaths due to violence occur in settings which are safety and peace zones and most perpetrators are the victims themselves or people who are close to the victim, such as parents, intimate partners, friends and acquaintances. By way of comparison the 1.5 million deaths due to violence is greater than the number of deaths due to tuberculosis which accounts for 1.34 million, road traffic injuries at 1.2 million and 1 million for malaria but it is slightly less than the number of people who die from HIV/AIDS. For every death due to violence there are numerous nonfatal injuries. Research also shows that in 2008 over 16 million cases of nonfatal violence-related injuries were severe enough to require medical attention.
Beyond deaths and injuries forms of violence such as child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, elder maltreatment have been found to be highly prevalent. Interpersonal violence is a societal issue against all people, including men, should stand up and speak up against so that we could stamp it out. We have a responsibility to make a difference and apply the appropriate principles in order to stem the tide of violence in our society. Violence is the scourge of our society. We as a Parliament can make a difference by rejecting all forms of interpersonal violence but passing laws is not all we must do. We must seek to ensure that the legal mechanism should not exist in a vacuum but must be seen to be working efficiently and effectively to give meaning to our abhorrence that interpersonal violence is unacceptable and must be vigorously illuminated.
I wish to leave with you two quotes taken from Mahatma Ghandi, and I quote:
1. “I object to violence because when it appears to do good the good is only temporary. The evil it does is permanent.”
2. “You must be the change you want to see.”
I give, unreservedly, my support to this motion in its entirety. Thank you. [Applause]
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