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Domestic violence – what ‘we’ have to do

By Sheena Sheppard

There has been a recent upsurge in the deaths of women due to domestic violence in Trinidad and Tobago. This problem is as old as time. Women have largely been regarded through the ages, in different cultures and classes, as property. Property, to be owned and to be controlled. This has further been fueled by the misinterpretation of Ephesians 5: 22–24 which instructs wives to submit to their husbands, as her head just as the Church subjects to Christ.

So yes, wives submit to your husbands, but Ephesians 5:25–29 goes on to instruct husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church and gave Himself for it. Gave Himself for it? Christ did not simply give Himself, He was a sacrifice, tortured and condemned by choice, for the love of us, His Church. This is what husbands are instructed to do.

How then has the husband, the man, the head of the household end up the aggravator, the perpetrator of these violent acts? Why are our men unable to process whatever feelings they are coping with and lash out at the ones they are supposed to love?

More importantly, what can we, as a Catholic Church and Catholic women, do to effect change in our society to eradicate this societal ill? We can start with our children, both male and female, and train them in acceptable behaviours and, even more importantly, how to process negative feelings, situations, and people.

And us? We know better. We have a responsibility as well, to do more, to show up more, to listen more, to act more, to talk more, to reach out more — to love more.