PRESIDENT of the Rapidfire Kidz Foundation Kevin Ratiram said children who witness domestic violence in the home, often grow up to be violent young adults.
The attorney said witnessing violence ‘day in and day out’ becomes a value to the vulnerable child, a norm, so when that child grows up, it is easy for him/her to take up a weapon and inflict violence against another human being.
Ratiram appealed to fathers and men especially, to nurture a competing value of love and respect for women in particular, “or our young men and boys will be lost.”
Ratiram drew the link between the upsurge in violence among young men to domestic abuse they would have witnessed while growing up in an abusive home as he addressed the Foundation’s sixth annual Gala Dinner at Achievors Banquet Hall, San Fernando, on Saturday evening.
“A lot of the violence today, out in the streets, in the jails, in the schools, all stem from domestic violence in the home,” Ratiram told the audience which included chairman of the Children’s Authority Hanif Benjamin, the feature speaker, former government minister Winston Dookeran, former permanent secretary Reynold Cooper, Justice Frank Seepersad, San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello, as well as, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church Rev Annabell Lalla-Ramkelawan.
The Foundation assists underprivileged children and Ratiram observed in their interaction with families they witness homes where domestic violence is prevalent to the extent that it sometimes ends in death or murder.
He said while often in domestic violence cases women are always the victim and the male, the perpetrators, “the impact of domestic violence eats into the children.”
“We are breeding young men to whom violence is a natural way of life when they witness this violence day in, day out. We need to understand violence is developed. It is a value penchant for violence. We have to nurture competing values of respect, love, sensitivity.”
Ratiram said the only way this could be done is by men setting examples of how to treat with mothers, sisters, girlfriends, aunts.
He said amendments to laws, more courts, more magistrates, more police would not solve the problems.
“We have to change from within. Violence, domestic violence is all our business. We have the power to shape the minds of the teenagers and the 23, 24 ad 25 year olds of tomorrow. We must sit and talk, we must teach, set the right examples or all the criminal laws, constitutional amendments will amount to nought.”