APPALLED by the murder of 45 women, some at the hands of their partners in 2020, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (PCTT), The Rt Rev Joy Abdul-Mohan is calling for the breach of a protection order to become a non-bailable offence. She believes this could be a deterrent to such crimes.
The former senator urged Cabinet to make it mandatory for people subject to protection orders to be issued with electronic monitoring bracelets.
She said there is precedence in countries where such devices are mandatory and have resulted in a decrease in violence against and murder of women.
“We, in the church, the community and country cannot become oblivious to the many forms of violence that seek to destroy the society. Let us act together to protect the communities we serve.”
In February, a petition signed by 1,700 citizens was delivered to the office of the Prime Minister calling for amendments to the Domestic Violence Act and requesting special funding to be set aside to ensure shelters for abused women and children can continue to operate.
Abdul-Mohan said the Presbyterian Church, like the rest of the population, is appalled by the increase in violent crimes against citizens, particularly the elderly, women and children.
“Studies show that violence occurs in families from all walks of life and that it is no respecter of persons. It also takes place, far more often than we care to admit, among people of all racial, socio-economic, religious and educational backgrounds. This makes it imperative that gender-based violence becomes a priority concern for us, not only in the PCTT, but in other religious organisations and civil society groups.”
She observed that in the last two decades, and especially during this global pandemic, there have been new levels of violence against women resulting in terrible suffering in the home and society.
“We do get reports that women, family members, and other distressed citizens seeking refuge are subjected to further physical, sexual and mental abuse. They are marginalised and exploited by those who wield power. When will it end?”
Abdul-Mohan said governments over the years have been unable to adequately treat with this criminal assault against the citizenry. She called on citizens to guard against becoming desensitised or immune to these shocking assaults.
“The church cannot embrace justice, peace and love if it fails to speak out, condemning violence as a sin. This is the opportune time for us in the PCTT to confess our complacency and demonstrate our commitment to end violence against humanity.
“Our interests and actions must not be seen merely as a project, but as a mandate that permeates every sector of the church and society. Our individual churches and communities need to be educated and prepared for our crucial role in this battle. We must speak out against this violence from our pulpits, our schools, our bible study groups through worship and music, and, work in partnership with other stakeholders.
"Moreover, we need to support legislation that can curb and prevent murderous attacks against citizens."