Echoes of Delayed Responses: A Case for Human Rights in Barbados

Submitted by TK Butler-Intimate Partner Violence Survivor 
Human Rights Advocate 
Author & Activist @ Focus Barbados| Protect the Children

JUSTICE DELAYED is justice denied. Barbados is becoming notorious for pushing matters under the rug for years, backlogged court cases, people remanded to jail and cases that don’t get called before the court until several years later, witnesses to cases being asked to remember evidence from 10 years ago, and people walking around the same streets as perpetrators while awaiting their day in court.

In my case, Barbados failed to respond to a petition I submitted in June 2015 to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights by the deadline. This failure triggered  the advancement of my petition to a formal case as stated in a letter mailed from the Commission to Jerome Walcott and myself on November 23, 2020: 

The State in question did not submit a response to the petition during the admissibility phase. Therefore, the Commission has decided to open the case…

The details of my case against the government of Barbados as well as the specific abuses I’ve suffered are shared within my blog posts on WordPress @ Focus Barbados (est. 2015) and Instagram @quarantineipv (est. March 2020). I used Facebook as a platform for raising awareness back in 2012-2014. I was also interviewed by Naked Departure on her blog talk radio in 2014. I have been more than vocal.

I lived in the communities of Barbados as a tourist. My abusive relationship with Barbados began in 2012, lasted for 3 years which has lapsed into a total of 7 years and counting. After leaving Barbados in 2015, I began researching and educated myself about the plight of Bajan women and children in Barbados. It is through understanding their struggle that I became aware of the connection we all have to trauma, crime, justice and the delayed responses by relevant authorities in each of those areas. We are all survivors of systemic governmental neglect and abuse. These abusive relationships formed the basis of my view that there is a lack of empathy in Barbados that is cultural. The people hold dear their customary “respect and manners” but because of deep seated anger issues, this hospitality and politeness does not ease the rage of Bajan hostility. Through my conversations with Bajans, experiences of culture and observations of governmental leadership, I am as clear as ever that Sir Hilary Beckles assessments of Barbados as the First Black Slave Society, including all the barbaric and traumatic implications, is one of many contributing factors that plays a significant role in my struggle for freedom from gender based violence in Barbados.

I’ve learned that when I was being strangled and my abuser asked me: “ARE YOU GONNA SHUT UP? YES OR NO?”, he was echoing the sentiments and voices of a majority of the population. I, THE TOURIST, although supposedly “superior” in status due to my relationship to the tourism industry/economy, ended up being treated as many local women are treated every day. I was not given the world renowned  “ROYAL TREATMENT” as a tourist. Instead, I experienced a major contributor to the normalization of abuse for Bajan women and children: THE CULTURE OF SILENCE. My research provided further evidence that emotional and verbal abuse in Barbados is rationalized as commonplace. The same hurt people who hurt people are working as teachers, lawyers, police, judges, and government officials.

According to Cynthia Forde:

There is no community that is not a part of the nonsense that has been going on.  And the molesters are not just the ordinary men in the village, but we have police officers taking advantage, and according to what we know, there are teachers, priests, counsellors and caregivers who are taking advantage of young children…all people who know better, and because they have not been caught, they get away with it.

Loop News Barbados

How can the cycle of abuse be broken when those who are supposed to help victims are also people who can’t be trusted? Who was gonna raise awareness if it’s normal to have your voice choked out of you? Who was gonna be an example that speaking out can bring healing where there’s no justice or closure? Who was gonna expose the wounds in order to justify the need for healing? Who was gonna ask someone out there somewhere if they dared care to listen to our screams for help? I asked others if they were willing. Everyone feared retaliation by employers and government. The rumours that Bajans are docile and content with suffering in silence became all the more real. No more delays. No more denials.

My case with the Commission is strong and justice will prevail. I would like acknowledgment from the government that my and OUR suffering is not in vain. The government must pledge itself to fix the broken systems, including those within the Child Care Board and Juvenile Justice circles, that enable the cycles of generational abuse and trauma that create abusive men and women. This must be done for the sake and well being of children. Every living adult in Barbados is called to task.

In this year’s throne speech, Dame Sandra Mason stated: “Barbados is now increasingly finding itself on international lists, including within the multilateral system, which identify us as having a poor human rights record.”

Need I say more?

In conclusion the lyrics of an old gospel spiritual by Mahalia Jackson will suffice:

If I can help somebody, as I travel along
If I can help somebody, with a word or song
If I can help somebody, from doing wrong
No, my living shall not be in vain No, my living shall not be in vain
No, my living shall not be in vain
If I can help somebody, as I’m singing the song
You know, my living shall not be in vain.

Will Men Speak out Against Domestic Violence?

Screenshot 2018-12-28 at 19.26.37

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in US

To prevent and stop violence against women, men in every country on planet earth need to stand up and speak out. Males of all races, religions, and cultures. Married, single, or partnered males. Politicians, police, and preachers. Young, middle-age, or elderly. Males from all socioeconomic backgrounds. All males—everywhere.

Mothers, sisters, and daughters are victims of domestic violence. Wives, live-in partners, and girlfriends are victims of domestic violence. Relatives are victims of domestic violence. Neighbors are victims of domestic violence. Teenagers are victims of dating violence. Children are victims of family violence.

Throughout history it’s been women at the forefront for change at the grassroots level as they marched for police, the courts, and the government to pass and enforce laws to prevent and intervene in family violence.

Where are the male voices? Why aren’t men involved in preventing domestic violence? Will men listen to men?

Now, when it comes to men and male culture, the goal is to get men who are not abusive to challenge men who are,” proclaimed Jackson Katz at TEDxFiDiWomen. He continued, “We need more men with the guts, with the courage, with the strength, with the moral integrity to break our complicit silence and challenge each other and stand with women and not against them.

Journalist for The Guardian, Anna Moore interviewed Patrick Stewart (Star Trek’s Captain Picard) and the Hart brothers at a 2018 domestic violence charity event before they took the stage to speak. Moore asked why these three men are speaking out.

Why? “Because domestic violence is a man’s problem…We are the ones who are committing the offences, performing the cruel acts, controlling and denying. It’s the men,” Patrick Stewart commented after sharing that his father abused his mother.

Why? “To tackle domestic abuse, you need to look at masculinity,” Luke Hart asserted. “Our father’s need for control came from his beliefs on what it means to be a man. I think most men – like me, before this happened – don’t realize how dangerous it is.” In 2016 in a small town in England, Lance Hart shot Claire, his wife, and 19-year-old daughter Charlotte, four days after the women had left him. Both died. Ryan and Luke Hart have become advocates against domestic violence.


A CALL TO MEN is internationally recognized for training and educating men to embrace and promote a healthy, respectful manhood.  The organization’s approach is grounded in the social ecological model, advocated by the Centers for Disease Control, as a framework for primary prevention of gender-based violence.

A CALL TO MEN partners with schools, universities, corporations, government, social service agencies, military installations, communities to end all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls.

A CALL TO MEN educates men all over the world on healthy, respectful manhood.  Embracing and promoting a healthy, respectful manhood prevents violence against women, sexual assault and harassment, bullying and many other social ills.

A CALL TO MEN is a violence prevention organization and respected leader on issues of manhood, male socialization and its intersection with violence, and preventing violence against all women and girls.

Men that live on all continents in every country and in every home need to speak out both personally and publicly against domestic violence. Men need to speak to men. Fathers need to speak to sons. Now is the time for a planet-wide movement: Men Against Domestic Violence.

Men, are you listening?

Focus Barbados Blog: The Sins of P.Antonio “Boo” Rudder


P.Antonio ‘Boo’ Rudder

The blogsite Focus Barbados is interesting. The focus of the blogmaster is on the elephant subject in Barbados, one of domestic abuse. The story which captured BU’s attention is titled The Sins of the Barbadian Father: P. Antonio “Boo” Rudder . We take this opportunity to invite parties identified to rebut through the following BU link – Send Confidential Message.

Barbados has a legal obligation to protect women and girls from domestic violence and sexual violence including sexual harassment. The State is required to put the necessary legal and administrative mechanisms in place to adequately protect women and girls from these forms of violence and to provide them with access to just and effective remedies. There must be sustained efforts by the State (such as continuous training of law enforcement personnel and judicial officers, sensitizing the media, educating the public) to challenge the stereotypical attitudes dominant in Barbados which help to perpetuate violence against women and girls. – quote via Caribbean UNWomen

MESA, Stop Squabbling, NOW!

Submitted by William Skinner

Ralph Boyce, head of MESA

Ralph Boyce, Head of MESA

It is understandable, that Mr. Ralph Boyce, unlike many of his counterparts, who would have opted for a retirement of leisure, has chosen to utilize his vast skills to better the society. He has been attempting with some moderate success to do so via the Men’s Educational support Association (MESA). I compliment Boyce on his efforts because in our class based society, we find retirees of Boyce’s ilk hanging out in church groups; service clubs and other more “acceptable “organizations. Seldom do they engage themselves in organizations that are attempting to rid the society of known prejudices or injustices. Men in our society have huge psychological hurdles to overcome; one major challenge is accepting that the modern woman is not their beloved mothers or grandmothers. Unfortunately, MESA has become the dwelling place for men who need psychologists more than they need MESA.

Within this organization, there are men who honestly believe that they have been wronged by women. Well I have news for them: Within the National Organization of Women (NOW), there are women who believe that they have been wrong by men! The mistake that Boyce has made is that he has allowed himself to be drawn into public squabbling with some females, who find the direction of MESA troubling. I honestly cannot blame them. His followers are therefore of the belief that MESA should be concerned mainly with pointing out how bad women are and how men have suffered at their hands. Such an approach is doomed to absolute failure.

One of the recurring topics at MESA is the unfaithfulness of women to men who have been good to them. In other words: If men give food clothing and lodging, a woman is supposed to prove her gratitude by being faithful.

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Men MUST Protect Our Womenfolk from the Scourge of Domestic Abuse

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group

Domestic abuse a scourge

Domestic abuse is a scourge mainly perpetrated by men

Once again, the self appointed guardians of our society are looking for scapegoats, to blame for the dramatic increase in domestic violence. They are attempting to blame women for being murdered by jealous, possessive men, who believe that in many instances, economic dependence by these women is a pathway to maiming and killing them at their pleasure! Misinformed groups such as MESA (Men’s Educational Support Association) are doing a great disservice to our country by trivializing domestic violence. Any humane society should have a zero level tolerance policy on domestic violence and there should be a special court to bring these cannibals, who are liquidating our women folk, to justice with great speed.

The Mahogany Coconut Group has called for progressive legislation that will give state agencies and our police greater legal rights in dealing with instances of domestic violence. Our calls have fallen on deaf ears and blind eyes. We are not surprised. When we peruse the media and observe those who have been promoting themselves as the guardians of our abused women, we see the same faces: a combination of political aspirants and those who take up causes simply to get their names in the papers and faces on the lone television station. They have appointed themselves as an elite group, whose only qualifications are some connection, to the rambling political management class also known as the Barbados Labour Party/ Democratic Labour Party.

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St. Vincent And Domestic Abuse

Submitted by Judith

I have visited St Vincent and the Grenadines and have noticed that as a visitor from Canada that the laws surrounding domestic dispute and abuse is taken as a joke or lightly I have experience police been called in a domestic dispute but the plaintiff was scared to press charges because she was treated by her boyfriend that if she press any charges he would kill her and nothing comes out of it he would just pay some money and spend a couple of weeks and get out just like his buddy. When the police was summoned although the scares were fresh, visual and obvious she was crying but was scared to press charges. the police did nothing they just left.

In a case like that it is now out of her hands the discretion should now be left in the police hands to make an arrest. Instead The man was told to go home and love is wife. So it is evident that with all the death of all these women whose husband or spouse kill them in St Vincent the court system allow them to get off to go kill another woman and brag about it. This is so pathetic and should be stopped.

I was told so many stories how lackadaisical and how caring the police force is in St Vincent and the Grenadines, I have even seen young girls been pick up in police vehicles and dropped off with a box food and you wouldn’t want to know what I was told.

St Vincent needs to step up. They are considered to be the slackest Caribbean country in the Justice system or should I say the worst.

St. Vincent Out Front On The Domestic Abuse World Stage

Keturah Cupid recounts her life filled with domestic abuse and beatings. She is longing to know her daughter whom she hasn't seen in 20 years - Credit: The Star

Here is an article about domestic violence in St. Vincent (Note the Headline –  Is this Caribbean idyll the worst place in the world to be a woman? – about the worst place in the world for women).

“KINGSTOWN, ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES—Hungary, China, Namibia, Colombia, Mexico. These are among the top 10 countries from which refugee claims to Canada are made. But one of the world’s tiniest nations has started appearing on the list, a place many Canadians couldn’t find on a map: St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

I don’t have any comment I will leave it to those closer to the scene but the words of the Trinidad based psychologist are damning and I quote “In the Caribbean, violence has traditionally been viewed as a “normal part of the relationship dynamic,”

Often times we discuss the issue of domestic abuse through a myopic lens.