WHAT TO DO!!!
If you see GBV occurring or you know that it has occurred
- Take action, like calling the Police.
- Let the perpetrator know that he or she must stop abusing others.
- Support the victim and encourage him or her to take action, like giving a written statement to the Police or contacting the Gender-based Violence Unit for help.
- Promote respect and non-violence in your homes and communities.
If you are an abuser
- Stop abusing the victim.
- Give respect to others. Do not violate the rights of the victim.
- Accept responsibility for your actions.
- Get help, if needed.
If you are a victim:
- Empower yourself.
- Stop accepting abuse in silence.
- Take action to protect yourself from future abuse
- Use legal remedies for the abuse suffered.
- Get help, if needed.
WHAT NOT TO DO!!!
- Do not act as if the violence will go away or stop if nothing is done. Usually, violence escalates over time, and can even result in death. So, take action early to prevent further abusive or violent behavior.
- Do not advise the abuser and the victim an abusive intimate relationship to “make it up” or “just behave” themselves. The victim may feel obligated to allow himself or herself to be controlled by the abuser, and the abuser may use this as a scheme to dominate even more. The most valuable help in the long term will encourage the victim to become empowered and the offender to stop their abusive behavior.
- Do not blame the victim. He or she did not “look for it” and they cannot control the behavior of the abuser/offender. Abusers usually use one excuse or another for their behavior, so even if the victim changes one set of actions, the abuser will find another excuse to exercise power and control. Instead, help the abuser recognise that violence will not be tolerated.
- Do not confuse controlling behavior with love. Actions that show love will not cause mental, emotional or physical harm to anyone.
- Do not treat abuse and violence as normal. If someone with abusive tendencies realizes that you or the society think that violence is normal, they will use it to control others or get what they want. Instead, show that violent behavior is an inappropriate, illegal response to any situation, and that they can learn to use non-violent responses, such as having a discussion, walking away, or even ending a relationship.
- Do not assume that an abuser “can’t help it”. Normally, abusers do not commit acts of violence without a plan or against persons they cannot control. Abusers do not lack self-control. They make the choice to use violence in certain situations, or against certain persons who they think they can control.
- Do not believe that all intimate relationships include abuse or violence. They do not. This does not mean that intimate relationships ideally do not have conflict. A disagreement or situation of conflict between persons is not necessarily abusive. It is based on the frequency of the conflict and how the partners handle it that matter most. When the partners operate from a position of respect for each other and treat each other as equals, conflicts will be resolved peacefully.
HOW CAN WE PREVENT GBV IN OUR HOMES AND COMMUNITIES?
- Have healthy relationships. A healthy relationship is based on equality and respect between the partners.
- Get educated on the issue, and use the information to empower yourself, and share it with your family and others.
- Encourage your group, church and workplace to have discussions on what you can do to give support to victims and hold the offenders accountable. Remember that covering up abuse is NOT preventing abuse.
- Use opportunities to talk with your children, peers and others about not tolerating or committing GBV. Opportunities can be provided by TV shows, movies, radio programmes, leaflets, activities, news, and so on.
- Break the myths that make us treat violence against women and girls as normal behaviour.
- Set boundaries for yourself about specific actions that are abusive. Do not accept that behaviour from others nor should you practice that behaviour against others.
- Treat each other as equals, with respect for their human rights.
CONTACTING THE MINISTRY OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, HOUSING AND COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT
Anyone can visit or call the Ministry at the following locations, where you would find warm and reliable staff to assist you in addressing your needs:
- Headquarters on the first and second floors of the Ministerial Complex, Botanical Gardens, Tanteen, St George’s. (Tel. 473-440-7952 or 473-440-2269)
- Grenville, St. Andrew’s (Tel. 473-438-2269)
- Petite Esperance, St. David’s (Tel. 473-439-2269)
- Victoria, St. Mark’s (Tel. 473-437-2269)
- Sauteurs, St. Patrick’s (Tel. 473-442-2269)
- Desk of the Elderly and Probation Services, Melville Street, St. George’s (435 7680)