Violence against women is always a worrying topic and former independent senator and Moderator of the Presbyterian the Right Rev Joy Abdool-Mohan said men have to learn how to deal with rejection.
Abdool-Mohan was responding to the alarming rate of women being killed by spouses and partners in recent times. Four women have been killed over the past month and their partners were the primary suspects.
"My husband has said men have not accepted rejection. They do not know how to deal or treat with rejection," she said in Sunday Newsday interview at the Presbyterian Church of TT Women's conference at St Augustine Girls' High School, St Augustine, on Saturday. Abdool-Mohan said men were never taught how to respond to rejection.
"How does the church deal with this? We now have to nurture our young men and women about relationships and what it means to be rejected. Mothers must instil in all their children what is respect. We must also train young men to see women as just as important as God's creation."
Abdool-Mohan said men were never taught to express their emotions. She said women were considered as emotional and men as physical beings.
"Men are also emotional beings. Some men may feel emasculated when they ask for help, but I am seeing more and more men coming forward for help to manage their anger.
"You come from these socialisations of how you treat women so whether you treat them as an object or with respect I think it has to do with education at the home, in the family. A man's wife may be unfaithful. Does the church condone that? No, but we don't condone violence because of unfaithfulness. That is no reason to abuse a woman because men have been unfaithful and they are not beaten up, maybe in the minority. Many women have been abused over the years."
Abdool-Mohan said society has not prepared men for the independence of women.
She said as the only girl with two brothers, her father, an educator, ensured all chores were shared equally.
"There was no division of labour and responsibilities. We all had our chores and if they intertwined I would throw out the garbage and they would sweep the house or scrub.
"We, as religious leaders, have perhaps failed too. I counsel couples. When couples are getting married they go through a period of marriage encounter. But it is the choices. We can't force people to choose someone. We now still have to take time to educate our young people on how to treat with relationships from birth.
"In primary school, children may make fun of a boy who is effeminate, call him a sissy. We have to train them that people are different. We were all born different, but are all equal in the sight of God.
"Violence might be overt or covert, but the violence must stop where there must be respect for human life. We need to have more conversations between men and women from government to mosque to temple to church, community groups. We as stakeholders must come together to create the conversation between men and women more often than we are having it now."
She said gone were the days when a woman reported abuse to her family and she was told to return because she would not get any money to take care of herself and her children.
"It is a matter of finances, economics. After that first slap, tell someone immediately. The retaliation is to not just get help yourself, but for the perpetrator because he/she needs help, too. Second slap is to move out, seek your safety and still seek help."