Women in Action (WIA) President, Diane Felicien, has said that there is a culture of misguided male pride in Saint Lucia where male victims of domestic violence suffer in silence.
Felicien made the comments in a WIA statement declaring that the organization does not condone any form of violence against men or women.
She asserted that men do not want it known that they are being abused.
“We have to work on changing the mindset of our men and also changing the way society reacts when men come forward with domestic abuse claims,” the WIA President said.
Felicien’s comments follow several incidents of deadly domestic violence since the beginning of the year, the latest involving the stabbing death of 39 year old Cletus Edward earlier this month.
Edward’s common law wife, Leandra Pierre, was arrested and charged for murder in connection with the death.
The WIA statement said that in the light of recent incidents, the organization reiterates that no man or woman should be abused.
“It is important for victims to admit to themselves that they are being abused or that they are in an abusive relationship. Recognition and validation are the first steps to take when a victim is ready to leave an abusive situation,” the statement said.
WIA, the women’s arm of the ruling United Workers Party (UWP), has advised victims of domestic abuse or domestic violence to talk to family, friends, neighbors or co-workers about the domestic violence they experience.
“It may be helpful to call a domestic violence hotline for information, referrals and support,’ WIA said.
According to the organization, when domestic violence occurs it is helpful to have a plan to deal with an emergency or crisis.
“It is important for individuals to think about ways to provide a safer environment, both for themselves and their children,” it observed.
The statement outlined a number of ways to deal with domestic violence situations, including planning to get out of the home quickly and safely if violence starts.
It advised that a victim’s plan should consider very fine details such as where to keep keys, a purse and an extra set of clothes for a rapid departure
“It is important that children know how to use the phone to call the police or help agencies,” WIA said.
Nevertheless, the organization acknowledged that victims cannot always avoid violence.
But it stated that to increase safety, it is important to plan what action to take during a violent situation, such as trying to move to a space that is lowest risk and avoiding arguments in rooms without an access to the outside or in rooms where injury is more likely such as the bathroom, the kitchen or on the stairs.
WIA advised anyone going through domestic violence to seek professional help via the following agencies:
Women Support Center – General Relations on Jeremy Street – Call 202 (Call is free)
National Health Service helpline – Call 203 (Call is free)
St Lucia Crisis Center – Call 453 6848 or 712 7574