Aug 072015
 
Trudy Hudlin

Trudy Hudlin

I’m an island girl born and bred. With its 1.3 million residents, Trinidad and Tobago is as cosmopolitan as you can get! It’s no joking matter that our National Anthem says… “Here every creed and race finds an equal place”

Just recently we were adjudged to be amongst the top ten happiest people in the world.

So you can imagine my horror when I overheard the following…”Boy! I woulda beat she so eh, if dat was my chile an she did dead” (in Trinidadian vernacular) those were the immediate utterances of a work colleague when he heard of a situation involving a child who had fallen into a river. In his mind, instantly the child’s mother was to be held accountable and be given a beating for apparently “not watching de chile”.

It’s instances like those which always leave me perplexed! Isn’t parenting supposed to be a shared responsibility? From all accounts the father was right there, so when when did it become “acceptable” to flog or beat a woman for ones’ perceived wrongdoing, how is it that in a society such as ours; this behaviour has become commonplace?

What is that one characteristic that abusers seems to identify with and exactly what sets them apart from the non-abuser, how can it be that they react with such violence towards women so easily?

A former friend once confided to another friend and I that he’d hit his wife, I was shocked and upset “no friend of mine behaves in such a manner” I thought… It got even worse
when he began to describe what occurred and the actions he took “tuh bring she in line” only then did reality hit me (no pun intended) my former friend was a wife beater… It’s what he did to keep his woman in line. Evidently I’ve cut ties with him, I didn’t want to be guilty by association.

As a young adult I’d often say I didn’t want to associate with anyone who cheated or beat on their wives or abused their children. It’s like…show me a man who’s guilty of one act and I’d show you a perpetrator who’s guilty of all, I’ve since realized that that’s not necessarily the case, though in my view, they both bear a close resemblance.

The very harsh reality though, is that men continue to show their need for control and dominance over women, by neglect, ill treatment, verbal, physical, mental and sexual abuse and in this small island I call home, it’s even more glaring.

There’s no structural class or stature which determines who gets to feel the brunt of some insecure person’s need to exercise their desire to control that or one who needs no control. But rather you have a wide cross section of men who prove their manhood by abusing the more vulnerable in society.

It can be argued that we all have a role to play in the elimination of violence against women, that if we all stand up in defiance with one voice to support those who have none, then bit by bit we’d push out the abusers…but really and truly it would take a whole lot more than such a simplistic approach.

Then, this is exactly what happens, we begin to doubt the effectiveness of one approach over another and before we know it, nothing happens, we sit in silence and do nothing and the longer we take at doing nothing, is the more broken our mothers, daughters, aunts and sisters become. We have to work together for that change to happen, women and men and collectively our refusal to permit violence will go a long way in addressing this menace. Let’s all do our part in breaking the silence and stigma attached to violence against women and children. Our worth is way more than that of broken bone and black/blue eyes!

Trudy Hudlin is a Health Safety and Environmental Professional she resides and works in the Island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Her passion is and has always been people and keeping them safe is what she does best.

It is in this regard that Trudy has partnered with the women’s arm of the Trinidad and Tobago Police service on community walks and embarked on a T-shirt campaign both aimed at bringing about awareness and sensitizing the public on a ZERO TOLERANCE approach to domestic violence.

Jun 032014
 

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”  – Maya Angelou

Is Nigeria that far?!

There are countries that you know about because you`ve heard only nice and exotic things about them. On the other side there are countries that you know about only because you have been hearing about too often in the main news…for other reasons. Nigeria is that kind of country.

Yes, I know where Nigeria is.

I know what kind of people live in there. They are beautiful people. Beautiful from the inside and outside. I can easily recognise if someone is coming from Nigeria for instance.  No, I`m not biased. I just tell the truth.

The Nigerian Woman.

Let me introduce you shortly to one of them that I was pleased to meet four years ago.

She is humble, always speaks from her heart, warm, supportive, sensitive to other people`s needs… She is strong, takes initiative and of course she is absolutely beautiful. Her modesty makes her even more beautiful in the eyes of others.  The most important thing about her is she loves people regardless of their skin color, religion or social class. This woman is a representative unit of the Nigerian women. Imagine how strong these women are. Beside their strength they are still the most affected in the Nigerian society. I always have the tendency to hypothesize things.  – What would happen to Nigeria if these women will be allowed to realize their potential? I have the answer. It would mean the country would bloom. And there wouldn`t be violence.

Girls have been abducted! The abduction of the schoolgirls was a heading on each international TV channel.

Childhood interrupted irreversibly.

276 schoolgirls have been abducted. I assure you at this point none of them feels they are a child. For sure they’ve grown overnight. The discourse that has arisen about the topic looks like scratching the surface. The mainstream media didn`t do much in order to cause bigger pressure to the relevant institutions and stakeholders.

It is not enough just to inform the world how the things are going.  Now, I have feeling that this topic is no more attractive to them. In my opinion less focus is put on the issue as time passes when there should be the most.  Noticing how the media and relevant experts discuss the issue I get the impression that the situation is taken for granted.

I am asking myself why all these stakeholders don`t analyse how the abduction of 276 schoolgirls will influence their psychological state and re-socialization after the trauma they`ve gone through? I don’t want to discuss the worst scenario because still want to believe the humans are good in their nature. We want to believe there is still hope for humanity.

For instance, how many of them will be able to lead a normal life afterwards? How many of them will be having the strength and courage to interact with someone from the other religion in the future? How many of them will be capable and strong enough to erase those memories and continue living without them? How many of them will be able to trust somebody? – I assure you, NONE of them.

The message I want to share is that the leaders of the world, the significant ones and non-significant `others`  like us – we need to pay more attention to situations like this! It is shameful and does not meet the level of consciousness of humanity to tolerate acts such as abduction and deprivation of the right to live peacefully (especially children).

Why don`t they take into consideration all these factors together when bargaining about their positions?  I believe we are all facing a massive inversion of a core values.

I don`t want us to live with the idea that Nigeria is far somewhere in Africa and we shouldn`t get involved.  We are all suffering from some type of violence. Some don’t recognise it as violence. The social media campaign Bring Back Our Girls is a spotlight of this drama. But it`s influence is determined.

Let us not be undetermined. Let us wake up from our daily dreaming and empathise with the anguish of these people. Cause Nigeria is not that far.

S.Angelovska–Sanja Angelovska is a psychologist and researcher and lives in the Republic of Macedonia. She is a Masters Candidate in International Relations – Conflict Resolution and Studies of South-Eastern Europe. She is currently training in Family and Systematic Psychotherapy. She also likes to continually build her capacity and share her experiences at relevant seminars and workshops at least once a month. Sanja loves to spend time with Jana and Jaka her pet cats and enjoys traveling and reading.

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