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Women's Day Program in Suriname Addresses Domestic Violence

Paramaribo, Suriname - A program about Domestic Violence took place at at the Ons Huis in Paramaribo on March 8, International Women's Day. There were 35 participants, 30 women and 5 men The evening opened with the national anthem and prayer.

The speakers were Mr. C. Rasam, Head Prosecutor, and Mrs. A. Naipal, coordinator of an agency that provides care to victims.

In the statement of Mr. C. Rasam, the following issues were discussed:

  • Definition of domestic violence
  • Forms of violence
  • Effects of domestic violence on both the woman and the children
  • Statistics on domestic violence
  • National regulations regarding sex crimes, domestic violence, and stalking
  • National activities of governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations regarding domestic violence policies

In the statement of Mrs. A. Naipal the following issues were discussed:

  • Accountability approach to domestic violence
  • Causes of domestic violence
  • Reasons why the problem of domestic violence is still unresolved
  • Cooperation with other bodies concerned with the problems linked to domestic violence
  • Assistance to victims of domestic violence, including medical care

At the suggestion of the second initiator, the second speaker spoke immediately after the first. After the introductions, the presenters took their seats at the speakers table. Their presentations were supplemented by comments from Inspector N. Durga. The questions posed by the attendees were clarifying questions about the presentation of the speakers.

The discussion focused on the following aspects regarding domestic violence:

  • The way the police handle domestic violence issues, the victim is often not taken seriously and charges aren't pressed.
  • If no strict action is taken by the police about the perpetrator, it makes it easier for the perpetrator to repeat the actions
  • The law about domestic violence is unknown or unclear to the public.
  • The way in which aid agencies work; sometimes the victims are unable to act for themselves and need counseling
  • Solution to the problem of domestic violence

Conclusion

The government and NGOs are busy promoting legislation and activities to combat domestic violence. There is even a policy developed for dealing with it. The main solution to domestic violence is education through media channels. Recently, all district police departments have officers specifically concerned with reports of domestic violence.

Information alone is not sufficient and does not reach everyone. It is also important that the victims seek help immediately after the act of the perpetrator. Strong action by the police is therefore required to stop recurrences and escalation of the violence, in order to avoid fatal consequences for the victim.

Solutions must be sought in the expansion of the network of former victims opposing domestic violence. They can share their experience of domestic violence and how it was resolved with victims who apply for assistance.

A very important solution that emerged from the discussion is that every individual must work on themselves because we as parents must set a good example for our children. The wife and husband should love and respect each other and demonstrate the right way to communicate with each other, especially in a disagreement.

The children will heed the example of the parents. If there is an example of violence and abuse in the family, the girls in the family will develop in the behavior of potential victims and the boys in the family will develop the behavior of potential perpetrators of domestic violence. But when the example in the family is love and respect in their dealings with each other, the children will grow up to be adults with good character.

The evening ended with prayer and socializing with food and drink. To raise funds, a cake was raffled which the winner could take home at the end of the evening.

The discussion will continue on April 3, when a PowerPoint presentation of UPF's "Principles of Reconciliation and Forgiveness’’ will be shown.

Contributed by the Secretary General UPF-Suriname, Ristie Denny R.

International Women's Day 2013 from Universal Peace Federation International

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