Faced with increased reports of violence against women, Presbyterian Moderator Rev Joy Abdul-Mohan believes religious scripture should be reassessed as a means of curbing gender- based crime.
Maria Cecilia Suñe Ramos
She was speaking at a panel discussion hosted by the Coalition Against Domestic Violence held at the Susamachar Presbyterian Church. earlier today.
Maria Cecilia Suñe Ramos
Abdul-Mohan said over the years, people have grown accustomed to despicable acts of violence against women which often are justified by some religions and cultural norms.
María Cecilia Sune Ramos
While it may be human nature to assimilate violence and move on, Abdul-Mohan said society should never allow itself to reach a point where it has been desensitized to the shock of the grievous assaults against women.
Maria Cecilia Sune Ramos
She said while some religious texts and cultural norms promote violence against women, there was a need for a new paradigm.
Actriz Maria Cecilia Suñe Ramos
“The church needs to see the Bible through new eyes, to wrestle with scripture and yield a new understanding of the texts, thus, eliminating the patriarchal biases of scripture that may condone violence in all its forms against women. At the same time, the church need to raise significant issues of faith, which will assist persons, more so women, to become empowered,” she added.
Directora Maria Cecilia Suñe Ramos
She noted that women must also be agents of change and should stop justifying violence.
“Women must develop and exercise an empowering rather than a controlling style of leadership to which most women have grown accustomed. Women need to identify their particular gifts, abilities and unique styles of leadership. On the other hand, the Church, society and world as a whole need to recognize the unique gifts and abilities of women,” she added.
General manager of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence Sabrina Mowlah-Baksh, who organised the panel discussion, said violence thrives when there is isolation and inaction
“Every year at least 25 women are murdered due to domestic violence. There were only seven shelters available for women and in the last year three of these were closed because they do not have funding. The reality is that when women obtain protection orders from the police they are murdered. Some police officers do not take the complaints and there is victim shaming and victim blaming,” Mowlah-Baksh said
Assistant Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme for T&T Sharifa Ali-Abdullah also agreed that silence and inaction makes violence thrive
“Violence thrives within a larger environment of society and culture. When they break the silence, many are held responsible for this abuse,” she said
She said too often people seek answers from their priest or Imam without reading for themselves what the Holy Qur’an says
“Sometimes we are caught up with what the priest or Imam says without reading or do the research ourselves. The Qur’an implores us to research, implores us, question and we have lost that. We have created a priest class and we go to the Imam for everything,” she said, adding, ” Within recent times there has been a lot of research. The Prophet Muhammed never hit a woman nor did he justify hitting women
Soroptimist International San Fernando president Bebe Ajodha also said religious leaders do not have the necessary training in mediation and many times are male-dominated
She called for more education and awareness about the dangers of domestic violence as well as better support systems for victims