When I started the Focus Barbados blog I was hurt. I felt so confused. I was lost. I was in search for answers and for enlightenment. I wanted to empower myself with all the possible knowledge necessary to ascertain the predicament of women and children in Barbados. From the start it was apparent that my fate intertwined with theirs and that we were forever bonded in our collective trauma.
Right now we are all facing the global pandemic: Covid-19 and yet here I am scratching the surface of old wounds and digging into the past 4 years of news and developments regarding any social justice initiatives that have taken place on the island since I last invested my undivided attention.
Physically I left the island and my abuser but mentally I have remained connected through the visits to this blog and my ever present relationship with PTSD.
The Corona Virus Pandemic has demanded that we isolate ourselves while encouraging the kinda social distancing that will prevent the spread of disease to those most vulnerable among us. Somehow all of this talk about boundaries and protection has TRIGGERED my concern for myself and others who have been and may still find themselves confined in the walls of a toxic relationship while at home alone with past memories or present realities of abuse.
How can we escape an unhealthy situation when at the same time we are warned that leaving will only make it worse?
The predicament and paradoxes we are dealing with now puts me back in the mindset of an abused woman.
And then here comes TRAUMA ripping right through the headlines and broadcasting with an even greater urgency thoughts about safety planning and the whole debate about why any woman doesn’t immediately leave an abusive situation.
Here are some examples:
- “We can’t go outside but it’s depressing to stay inside” juxtaposed against: “I can’t leave him but I know I can’t stay”.
- “He’s unhealthy for me but I know there’s some good in him.”
“Maybe if he gets some help things will get better.”
“I’ll just wait it out and one day it will all just go away.”
“If I had only seen the signs I would have been immune to his abuse.”
“If he would only realize how much I love him that will be his cure.”
During this time of self quarantine I have demanded of myself to begin researching and writing again because these parallels are too close to comfort for me. The realization that I haven’t walked closely enough with the women and children in Barbados these past 4 years may have prevented me from staying in contact with a big source of DIS-EASE but hasn’t resolved anything.
The children are still unprotected because of legislative inequality.
And women are still dying at the hands of men they tried to see the good in.
I haven’t shared the most recent accounts and stories but I share the ever present burden of raising overall awareness and shining a light in the dark places where cultural apathy and toxic patriarchy resides.
I am reopening the door and exposing myself to the virus of intimate partner violence in order to reveal the cure: HUMAN RIGHTS.
Why? Why now? Can’t you just move on with your life?
I am bonded not only in trauma but in healing. So far it’s safe to say that without governmental reform, restitution and redress the only real progress that has been made is for the press.
A state of emergency has never been declared for the people of Barbados in regards to changing the engrained fabric of a society that holds men’s need for power above that of a woman’s need for protection.
SHUT DOWN BARBADOS until community wide programs are released that teach human dignity and respect for the rule of law.
While schools are closed all over the world it’s time to issue out TEST KITS to identify the vulnerable and hurting children among us who are just one birthday away from growing up to be victims or perpetrators of abuse.
The only way forward to real and lasting change (healing) is through an island wide SELF QUARANTINE strategy like the one proposed by “founding father”, Errol Barrow, who led Barbados to peaceful independence in 1966. Here is an edited extract from the “Mirror Image” speech, 13th May 1986:
What I wish to speak to you about very briefly here this evening is about you. About yourself. I want to know what kind of mirror image do you have of yourself? Do you really like yourselves? There are too many people in Barbados who despise themselves and their dislike of themselves reflects itself in their dislike of other people.
Looking back over the years since I first began screaming about social injustice in Barbados up until today, I SEE NO CHANGES. The same reflection resides in the same mirror of the same people with the same facade of cultural pride that enshroud their shame.
Shame on you MINISTRY FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS for showcasing great competency and prowess in combating the spread of COVID-19 while stereotypical and debilitating attitudes and behaviors toward women and children are nourished and flourishing. The hypocrisy is contagious and deadly!
Is that the mirror image that you have of yourselves?
Anyhow, ladies and gentlemen, I done.