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Men are the key

by Latoya Burnham

pulingthepunchescoverMen are the key to ending domestic violence.

That’s the view of London-based consultant, counsellor and author Luke Daniels, who is currently wrapping up a two-week holiday in Barbados.

His first visit here, the author of Pulling The Punches: Defeating Domestic Violence, self-help book told Barbados TODAY: “I think [men are] really the key to ending domestic violence. They are the ones who are the main perpetrators and if they are excluded, and I have been to too many conferences where maybe six men and 100 women, so the message is really not getting out to men.”

Daniels, who said he would like take up an offer from Venezuela to head a project there looking at domestic violence involving men, noted that he was quite willing and looking forward to working in the Caribbean and helping to curb the trend of abuse.

“I did a campaign about two years ago in Guyana. I was invited to come and speak in the domestic violence campaign, so I spent 10 days up and down the country giving speeches, but I am now working on a project and I am very interested in working in the Caribbean,” said the man, whose family originally came from Guyana.

“I was invited to come and do some work in Venezuela and that might still happen. Domestic violence is horrific in Venezuela, with five women killed every week. But yes, I am interested in working in any Caribbean country where I can give a hand with training the men to do the work or set up a centre for men to work with the perpetrators,” he stated.

“We need men on board. There is a way in which men feel that other men collude with oppression against women on violence against women, so it is important that men be speaking out. It think men need to take responsibility for domestic violence. The more men can take responsibility, that is when real change will happen. Brothers need to stand up for their sisters, their mothers; children need to stand up and say, ‘No, we won’t allow this to happen’.”

He said the first step he took was a deliberate stance to interrupt any instances he saw of men being violent to women on the streets or in public, to physically get in the midst and interrupt the cycle. Daniels, first got involved as a member of the Everyman Project, a 30-week therapeutic counselling programme for men to educate and inform them in dealing with angry, violent and abusive behaviours.

“Many people think because it is the man’s wife or the man’s woman, they don’t have the right to intervene… It galls me to think that men would know that their sister is being abused and do nothing about it. Sometimes it is because they are abusers themselves, so it is a very contradictory situation,” said Daniels.

The author and counsellor who has practised in London and Africa among other places, said he has had much support from women’s groups.

“I’m working on another book for the Caribbean because this one is more universal, but because of the work I was going to be doing in Venezuela I had to start looking at and researching what is happening in the region in relation to domestic violence and violence on a whole.

“It is worse in the Caribbean than some other parts of the world, even war-torn areas. So I decided I need to get a book that deals specifically with the Caribbean region, so I am working on that,” he said.

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