Where is the community?

Our small island has been polarized in the past few days, erupting into what almost seems like an all-out war of the sexes. Social media can be extremely beneficial as a tool for educating the masses and providing positive reinforcement. The opposite sadly is also true as the dark nature of mankind also rears its ugly head on social media, using the platform to bully, tear down, and present wholly negative views and engage in behaviour that could be considered as irresponsible. One example is using social media to post photos of accident victims at the site of the accident and normally before family members have had the opportunity to be properly informed by law enforcement who is normally trained to break the news in such a way as to deter a total emotional breakdown.

Earlier this week, one of the most unsettling events I have heard of for a while transpired between two parents with the responsibility of raising a daughter. I speak of the untimely and gruesome death of 22-year old Shariece Henry at the hands of her ex-boyfriend and father of their young daughter, who stabbed her several times and proceeded to slash her throat and wrists after arming himself with a “sharp object” in the aftermath of a heated argument between the two.

As was expected, the ugly side of Facebook reared its head and speculation flooded the internet about what kind of person he was and what kind of person she was. To be certain this should not nearly be the issue that anyone is addressing at this point. More important is the need to address the affinity of individuals both men and women to exhibit violence against their partners.

A serious consideration has to be made for the dysfunctional nature of a relationship if you are constantly fighting in front of a toddler and more so, if people in the community know about it, why was it allowed to go so far? The old adage goes “It takes a village to raise a child”. It should then be considered that our village failed these two young people. Therein lies the problem, though. We really ought to be our brother’s keepers. When we see young people heading down a bad path we should be helping to counsel them and help them to conquer their demons. Here we have a young man that had a known anger management problem, but his issues were allowed to fester instead of putting a stop to it early out.

A re-education process needs to take place. Young men need to be raised to respect women not only for their beauty, but also their intellect. They should not be considered as property, but partners. Women also need to learn to respect men as not just breadwinners, but as partners as well. Nothing justifies violence against another in any form. The message must be sent that domestic violence is wrong and is not just an issue of men against women, but can also happen in the reverse. The road is long, but the journey must start now, a conversation must begin now. If respect is taught at all levels, we can grow a society driven by persons who communicate and resolve issues peacefully rather than resort to unnecessary violence.

As a society we have a responsibility beyond our desire to be the centre of attention and spread the latest gossip. In such a sensitive case someone found it prudent to record a conversation with a murderer on the run from the police and spread it across social media, instead of sending the information to the police allowing them to do their jobs. This was a clear situation of irresponsible behaviour. If we are to move forward as a society, we must put aside the need to sensationalize bad situations and help each other to grow as a people.

This behaviour only compounds issues and hurts those who are left to mourn and can have adverse effects on our own families and their lives. Remember children live what they learn. If we teach our youth that someone is bad because they are of a particular gender, the result will be the perception of relevant issues being polarized by the need of men or women to be right instead of dealing with the issues at hand.

Let us work together to send the right message to our youth and make our communities whole again.