Is It True That Barbadian Men Continue To Abuse Our Women & Children?

As a woman who has visited Barbados on many occasions it is with deep regret that the population is highly educated, purchase great houses and luxurious cars. Yet there is minimal discussion surrounding the rights of the girl child and women in Barbados. I do find in Barbadian society there is such a divide among class lines, therefore, people turn their faces when such incidents are not a part of their lives. The elite send their daughters overseas to school while the poor Bajan daughter either hit the employment pavements and become vulnerable to men who are old enough to be their fathers in the workplace. Such men impregnate and transmit diseases to these young women. For lack of policies surrounding women’s rights the girl child in the work place is always abused by the likes of xxx xxxxxx and are allowed to get away with such inappropriate behaviour. Where are the voices of Barbadian feminist and professional women who have remained silent when it comes to such issues. How can you go forward when you sit in silence when your children are being raped on a daily basis. I dare say progress is still far from moving forward.

To Barbados Underground you are doing great work but please speak out on behalf of the voices of those who have been silenced due to poverty or lack of education.

Source: BU Commenter

image.png A contributor to Barbados Underground sent us the above note a while ago just after we ran the Roy Morris story. It is no secret that most of the people who visit our blog do so in the hunt for political commentary. Sometimes we get carried away with posting a preponderance of politically flavoured writings and forget that the medium of the Internet gives us the opportunity to highlight or expose vexing issues which are affecting us. This approach affords the opportunity for people to get involved and work to eliminate or alleviate some of the problems currently affecting our society.

One such issue is the continued abuse of our women and children in little Barbados by our men folk. As a boy we would have witnessed situations which caused us to question: under-aged school girls getting pregnant, females getting pregnant and the siblings baring close physical characteristics to a close family member, women and children screaming because of the physical abuse inflicted by a man who felt the compulsion to demonstrate his leadership of the household by ‘throwing blows.’ We find it troubling this is an issue in Barbados which is swept under the carpet, and when it peeps out the incidences are buried in our court system. To reinforce the point there are no sensible statistics available to accurately inform discussion. In fact many of the relevant agencies, e.g. Child Care Board, MESA, National Organization of Women appear not to have websites which they can use to disseminate information to a wider public – we did not find any when we checked. The unwillingness of such important organizations in our society to adopt modern avenues to further their respective causes is troubling.

On March 6, 2007 the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor released the following information which was published on the website of the US State Department:


Violence and abuse against women continued to be significant social problems. The law prohibits domestic violence, provides protection to all members of the family, including men and children, and applies equally to marriages and to common-law relationships. Penalties depend on the severity of the charges and range from a fine for first-time offenders (unless the injury is serious) up to the death penalty for a killing. Victims may request restraining orders, which the courts often issued. The courts can sentence an offender to jail for breaching such an order. The police have a victim support unit, made up of civilian volunteers, which offered assistance primarily to female victims of violent crimes.

Spousal abuse remained a problem during the year, despite legal protections against spousal rape for women holding a court-issued divorce decree, separation order, or non-molestation order. The law prohibits rape, and the maximum penalty for it is life imprisonment.


The government was committed to children’s human rights and welfare, although violence and abuse against children remained serious problems. Education was free, compulsory, and universal until the age of 16. The government estimated that 98 percent of children between the ages of five and 16 attended school. The highest educational level achieved by most children was secondary school. The National Health Insurance Scheme provided children with free medical and dental services for most medical conditions. The Child Care Board has a mandate for the care and protection of children, which involved investigating day care centers and cases of child abuse or child labor, and providing counseling services, residential placement, and foster care. The Welfare Department offered counseling on a broad range of family-related issues, and the Child Care Board conducted counseling for child abuse victims.

While Barbadians continue to be consumed by the high cost of living and the attendant issues there is sufficient evidence to suggest that women and children continue to be the two groups most vulnerable as a result. The leadership which exists in the social services appear to be lacking and significant resources maybe required to implement an effective framework for attacking the cowardly act which is perpetrated by men on our women and children. When one considers that the woman because of her matriarchal qualities, and the need for healthy children which are required by any society to sustain itself, then our problem becomes more apparent.

In a small country with limited resources, which is often used as THE excuse, it seems that women and children who are abused have no escape. There are no hostels, halfway houses or institutions which are provided to give refuge or to respite the abused groups. It seems inhuman that our civilized society would live with the hypocrisy of knowing that we have men who continue to prey on women and children and we continue to go about our business as usual.

21 thoughts on “Is It True That Barbadian Men Continue To Abuse Our Women & Children?

  1. BU/David,

    We at BFPE wish to thank you for highlighting this very important social issue.

    Once again, you have shown us that you have a conscience, which is one particular quality of yours which we deeply respect and admire.


  2. This problem is on the increase all over the world and it is not restricted ONLY to the abuse of women being “beaten” by men it goes much further than this and it is reaching epidemic proportions.

    Women are being shot, stabbed, beaten, sold into prostitution, humiliated and the list is endless, by their partners and lovers and other lowlifes.

    The scary thing about these shameful and cowardly acts against women is, that back 40-50 years ago this deplorable treatment of women was limited to lower class individuals. No longer is this true abuse of women cross all social financial and Geographic lines. And is as bad abroad as it is here in Barbados.

    I recall as a young man in Barbados hearing Bajan women screaming from licks they were receiving from their “man” as he was known as then. And in those days women were actually made to believe that if their “man” did not throw some licks in them he did not love them. That is a fact!

    Another thing that many also close their eyes to but which too is equally demeaning and unkind to women is “verbal” abuse. This type of abuse has a significant psychological impact on victims.

    But it all I think shows a deterioration in Society all over the Universe. Look at child abuse, child pornography, child prostitutes. It truly is a dreadful problem all of which are not receiving the attention by Governments in eradicating it.

  3. Abuse of women has always been a blemish on the social advancement of every society. It does not depend on the area in which these women reside, although it is true that the prevelance is higher among women of a lower socio-economic bracket, it is inaccurate to suggest that years ago ONLY poor women/children were abused. There are countless articles which highlight the fact that women and children are the most vulnerable members of society. As far as the occurrence of these things, I have to play devil’s advocate here: Society begat its citizens. It is because men who know better do not stand up when these injustices are committed, fathers do not tell their children it is wrong to do these things and more importantly, personal value systems seem to be so lacking that they can’t distinguish right from wrong. Funny enough, some of the people you hear championing the cause of women might be engaging in similar acts of degredation of women. Hypocrisy is the name of the game.

  4. Anonymous:
    Children are more abused by women than men.

    Anonymous have you tried asking yourself why? We suspect you will find that the frustration or abnormal behaviour meted by women to children is caused by men indirectly.

  5. Superlative you seem to think that hypocrisy is the cause for everything and that those who speak out about any evil could well be guilty themselves. And you are correct. But, But that is the case with everything. What we have to focus on is how can these and other evils be fixed. The % who are wearing veils of hypocrisy and those speaking out that might be guity of what we are speaking about is irrelevant to the solution. There will always be this element, because we do not live in a perfect world.

    We have created a society that sees no evil speak no eveil none more so than our Bajan society.

    The upper echelon of society goes about its business distancing itself from the evils of poverty, high food cost, etc as it does not concern them and they feel if they get involved they will be blamed for having ulterior motives. Hypocisy!

    Many see crimes going on and close their eyes as they do not want to become involved in fear of reprisal.

    In larger countries of the world people mind their own business because they fear litigation in the courts if becoming involved. There was a time when we were our brothers keeper that time has come and past and has been replaced, by cynicism, negativity, pessimism, indifference et al.

    Some say I dont give a shit what anybody does just leave me out of it.

    We have created this Social structure. We are to blame!

  6. Are you hungry in general that you keep making mention of these high food prices? I maintain the argument is about the abuse women and children suffer at the hands of men.
    Furthermore, this ‘We’ is too inclusive. I agree persons choose not to get involved because of selfish reasons or for self preservation. However, you cannot make such blanket statements about things like you are the foremost sociologist and you personally went into the field studying abused women.

  7. Regarding abuse: Again I must play devil’s advocate. No man has the right to abuse a woman, fine, however what constitutes abuse. That definition could make all the difference in all this. Let’s pose this question to the readers:
    What do you consider Abuse as being?

  8. S1:

    To respond to your advocacy in the same prickly terms as you, in the rashness of the heady first flush of literacy, treat your erstwhile fellow bloggers.

    The very fact of your asking is an admission of your ignorance and immaturity.

    If you need to pose the question you are as uncivilised as any perpetrator, and in your mindset equally as guilty.

    Fully complete your education before attempting to discourse in adult debate.

  9. DAVID

    You are going out of your way to make sure that men are blamed for everything. Women are angels and men are devils. Is that it David? By the way are you a man, David? And if so what is this saying about you personaly?

    Do you have sons, brothers, a father, uncles, male cousins? Are they all oppressors of women? Forcing women to be abusers of children?

  10. We have been waiting all day to hear your comment Anonymous. First we suggest you reread the article and second try to understand if you will going back to the very beginning of time, the role of the MAN in the most primitive of societies vis a vis the WOMAN. There is a not too subtle point which you maybe missing.

  11. Straight Talk, hold your tongue. The question was posed to prove a point. If we administered a law saying any man who ABUSED a woman would instantly and without trial be sent to prison for a minimum of 3 months. Now, my definition of abuse may be a swift back hand across the face whereas your definition may begin at the repeated beating of a woman over a period of time… who in that scenario should be responsible for determining what Abuse is? Furthermore, context. A man who never raised his hand at a fellow human being, man woman boy or girl ONCE in a moment of rage slaps his woman and never did it again after a lengthy apology, is he an abuser or a man who hit his woman once? Now I CERTAINLY do not advocate the hitting of anyone so don’t even start up on me for that and overlook the point as I find is often done in these forums.

  12. I think if we took time to read the facts about this subject men abusing women far outweigh the opposite when it comes to numbers. There is no question that some women are spouse abusers but the police records and court documents will support a very wide disparity when it comes to numbers that show the man is by far the biggest problem and aggressor.

    I am of the opinion that a man or woman striking out physically at anytime is a problem that needs immediate professional treatment/counselling.

    It is one thing to make an argument that all of us at sometime struck another human. This happens and still does in some families when a child is disciplined with a slap on its bottom. But that is a far cry from folding a fist or slapping a woman or man in the mouth during an argument.

    As I have said IN BARBADOS back in the 40, 50, 60’s and maybe beyond some men beating their spouse, woman was common place. Many back then advocated as I said it showed love but many felt it was precipitated because of other factors because many women in those days had more than one man and chidren from them.

    There is also another matter that is beginning to surface and though it has not reached serious levels YET, there is a trend developing. Women some teenagers, because of spite, vendetta and other reasons accuse a man of rape when in fact no rape took place.

  13. There is a tendency to think physical abuse when we discuss abuse of women and children by men. Superlative1’s point becomes relevant here, emotional/mental/verbal abuse and other forms are often forgotten for the big one…PHYSICAL abuse.

  14. This subject is going no where fast so I am withdrawing.

    Abuse against women and children have reached such proportions in off-shore countries far more developed and prosperous etc than ours that I refuse to be a part of trivializing it with some of the self righteous drivel on the subject. People either want to open their eyes and learn or continue to keep them closed and be a part of the problem.

  15. I would just like to point out that though this article cites “the high cost of living and the attendant issues” as the main cause of this phenomenon, to focus solely on this element would be a gross oversight. While it is true, as the article goes on to mention, that a lack of financial resources results in limited options for abused persons, the availability of such institutions does not eradicate the problem, as I have seen in my volunteer work with women at a health centre in relatively affluent area in New Jersey. From the cases I have encountered, it is clear that the issue is not one of socio-economic status, it seems to be attached to the notions of masculine superiority and entitlement that our societies have managed to cultivate. Though we have limited finances in Barbados, our human resources abound. If we can seek to educate towards a psychological and social revolution that not only holds respect & equity across genders as an ideal, but also leads to the actual realisation of that respect and equity , a lot of good can result.

  16. bajediva makes an excellent contribution. Male bravado has a greater deal to do with abuse than simply being financially less fortunate. Especially given the ideas of masculinity in the Caribbean. I recently analysed the findings of a study on social perceptions and rape in Jamaica and many of the male AND female respondents had disturbing views with regards to gender roles and entitlement. Furthermore one question which terrified me was “Secretly most women want to be raped” and the majority of the males AND females responded “Strongly Agree” or “Agree”

  17. In the “good” old days, I vaguely remember hearing a calypso where someone intervened to prevent a man abusing his wife, and the response was “Mister, please don’t interfere – this is my man beating me here.” Nowadays modern rap music often advocates beating and raping women, or not paying child support. I wish those performers would go out of business from lack of popularity, but it is just the opposite.

  18. The reason those persons would never go out of business is because who are supporting them are white suburban kids who find the music entertaining. However, the people who internalize the music tend to be black people. Mind you, the greater issue is the existence of the mindset.

  19. I am not interesteds in who does the most abuse men or women. that particular discussion is counterproductive. Both sexes have the potential to abuse but they go about it in different ways.The worst form of abuse is verbal. Verbal abuse is the ‘definition’ of a person. The abuser behaves as though he/she is you. The abuser will tell you what you are, what you always do, what you think and what you feel. The abuser will find a way to always make you feel as though the abuse is your fault. The verbal abuser gets away with it because society believes in the adage “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Most people do not complain about what was said to them because usually they are convinced that they are just being too sensitive added to that the person committing the abuse will tell you that as well. Interesting enough the verbal abuser will generally become physical if the situation allows. All form of abuse are about controlling another individual. Women and children have the least power in society and this is why they are more likely to be abused. In Barbados men/boys have always been taught that they are superior to women in every way and some men when faced with the fallacy of this argument treat the woman as their enemy and then they have to put her “in her place”. As long as we believe that there is a “battle of the sexes” and that men must always win, there will continue to be casualties. We need to teach our sons that females are equal to them when it comes to general abilities but different in the way they express themselves or handle different situations. I do not believe that men/boys are in crises per se, I believe that they have been socialised in the wrong way, as long as boys believe that they are inherantly superior to girls they will have problems in the current school system. The little boy who’s father makes fun of him if a girl beats him at some task is very likely to end up taking out this anger on someone later in life and will blame the girls who keep beating him and not the father who put the ridiculous premise in his mind. Also he might tend to treat woman as objects, playthings, conquests.
    Am I wrong?

  20. I’d like to address the issue of women who are immigrants, living here illegally and having to endure the agony of abuse with fear that if they step out and scream help they will be in more trouble than abuse entails. None of these women wish to return to a life of poverty. Are there any laws that can protect these women? Is the police officer also an immigration officer? These women also need help as they have become a part of your society and legal or not, they still contribute to the economy.

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