Domestic Assault and Child Abuse are quickly becoming, if not already the number one killer of women and children in the nation with murder/suicide following right on it's heels.
Domestic Abuse in Trinidad:
The definition of domestic abuse varies for citizens dependent on whom you ask. The older generation (60 and up) usualy have a different idea of what the word "Abuse" means as opposed to the younger generation. As youngster growing up in the 60's, the word abuse was foreign to my vocabulary. Back then there were other adjectives to describe "abuse" and it relied on whether the "adjective" was construed to be abuse; but that word was never used, at least not in my school or home.
Words like "lix, cut-ass, licking, beat, lash, hit, slap, cuff, blows, buss-up, mash up," the list is endless. However, for the word abuse to be used, it had to come from someone with a grade "A" education and used the word in their place of employment. It's almost funny to really say how the word abuse was perceived back then.
Should someone use the word abuse, that would stretch the imagination and comparable to that of a "beating, lix, licking, buss up or blows" that was so bad, death was knocking on the recipient's door.
Child abuse is a replica of the way "domestic abuse" was perceived back in the day also. No matter how serious a punishment was to a child "abuse" was not the word used. Like Domestic Abuse, a licking or getting "lix" or getting some blows, was just that, lix or getting some blows as a punishment for whatever wrong the child may have committed.
Coming into the 80's and onward, the vocabulary of the citizens began to expand as we were exposed to more of the "outside" world. Television helped change the way punishment was perceived and so the word "Abuse or Domestic assault" became the the adjective used for describing the punishment of someone who is usually the wife or child in the family.
It is important we understand the history, evolution and perception of Abuse as it relates to "punishment". Back in the 60's there was punishment and not "abuse." as the folks understood it. A husband would beat his wife mercilessly and twenty later she would be having sex with him.
Same applies to a child; the father or mother would beat a child within inches of his/her iife and in just a few hours the child is back to doing what he/she was doing to receive the beating in the first place. In short, according to the 60's generation and older, there was nothing like abuse, just punishment.
Now that we've covered the history and earlier perception of abuse, lets investigate why it was accepted as the "norm' and how it was implemented by husbands, fathers, step fathers etc.
When the topic of Domestic Assault or Abuse and Child abuse is raised, women and children are the usual victims; parenting back then were quite different. Here is a sample of how abuse/punishment was received and meted out.
Women were often the recipient of extremely harsh treatment by their husbands and their parents.. in the old days when a husband abused/punished his wife for whatever reason(s) she was expected to accept the treatment by her husband and remain true and faithful to him alluding to his needs and wants regardless of how she may feel or think.
Some of the reasons wives were abused/punished: Just a few listed:
-If :the wife did not finish cooking dinner before the husband came home from work
-did not have a clean underwear after a shower/bath.
-the wife was caught chatting with the male neighbour
-the wife is habitually over at the neighbour's house.
=wife was not in the mood for sex
-wife danced with another man at a party
-farted and the husband smelled it
Some of the reasons children were abused/punished:
If the child:
-made too much noise
-broke something by accident or not
-did bad in a test in school
-did bad in a sporting event
-stayed out a few mins later than allowed
-cried after getting hurt in a fall or sporting event
A female child would bet punished / abused if:
=she's crying constantly and dad wants to sleep
-making noise and dad's watching tv
-spill a drink or food on the chair/sofa/floor etc.
-shits on dad or piss on dad
A female child 11-20 would get punished/abused if:
-She was caught talking to a boy on the street
=she gets caught kissing a boy
-finds out she's meeting a boy in secret
-finds out she's having sex secretly
-having sex in the home
-getting pregnant and unmarried
-unable to cook properly
-unable to do laundry properly
-talking back to parents
-bad marks in school
-talking to a male/boy on the phone without permisson
-farting in the presence of her dad
-being in the presence of dad's friends if they visit
-dancing with boys at any function without permission
many more reasons...these are just examples.