Women's Issues In Guyana

Bounty Hall

Posted in Commentary,Crimes against Women by wiig on September 16, 2006
Tags: , , ,

Guyana Chronicle – September 16, 2006

IT IS with no small amount of sorrow that many Guyanese would have read of the death of the elderly woman who was assaulted at Bounty Hall on the Essequibo coast.

That someone would want to commit any sort of violence against an elderly woman is inconceivable to most of us. The element of sexual assault adds a dimension that is outside the normal realm of speculation of the average citizen.

This is not the first time that an incident has taken place in recent years. Fatal sexual assaults on elderly women cause the occasional stir ever so often but they die down almost as quickly as they hit the front pages.

The same can be said of fatal sexual assaults on young women albeit that there is a high incidence of these. During 2004 and 2005 there was a spate of deadly violent attacks on teenaged girls by their older former lovers but nobody unconnected to the cases remembers their names now.

Our general problem, however, is not about the occasional fatal sexual assault on an elderly woman which sells a few extra copies of newspapers every other year, nor is it about the more frequent murder of young women. Our general problem is that violence against women is something that is institutionalized in our society.

The women who are beaten, raped, and murdered do not belong to any particular ethnic or religious group. Nor do the men who perpetrate those acts against them.

Violence against women is par for the course in Guyanese society. Consider the following excerpt from the story on the old woman’s death as published in yesterday’s issue of this paper:

“Relatives said the old woman was found last weekend on the Bounty Hall public road, unconscious and bleeding profusely from her private parts. She was taken to the Charity Hospital then to Suddie Hospital before being transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation where she later died. Sources said the four men were arrested after news broke of the woman’s death.”

That bizarre, darkly absurd incident at Bounty Hall which has resulted in the gruesome and painful death of an elderly woman who could have been the mother or the grandmother of the killer or killers is a commentary in itself on our attitude as a society towards violence against women.

It tells us that justice for this woman, who was assaulted in a way that was as painful and humiliating as any woman can be assaulted, is something that can only be awarded posthumously.

What is it that prevented these men from being arrested on assault charges, before the old woman passed away?

The most profound statement anyone can make on this issue is that “Something is seriously wrong”. The condemnation and comment that may come will be commendable, but frankly, they don’t, by themselves, save lives.

What we lack is a sweeping plan of action, something that outlines what we are going to do about a clear problem, not what we are going to say after every tragedy.


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