The Caribbean island of Trinidad grapples with a ‘national crisis’ of violence [especially against women] - The Guardian

[As] of last month, the murder toll across the twin island state of Trinidad and Tobago was on track to overtake last year’s all-time high. As rates rise, more women are being killed than at any point in history. As of May, this year’s death toll was at 280, already overtaking the same period of 2022 – a year which saw 614 violent deaths. The Caribbean nation, with a population of about 1.5 million, now has the sixth-highest crime rate in the world.

Trinidad and Tobago was once the richest state in the Caribbean, but over the past two decades it has been dragged down by mismanagement of oil wealth, corruption, the drug trade and an explosion in gun crime and violence.

[Dr. Gabrielle Hosein, a writer and lecturer at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies] believes a key problem is violence in homes. “One in five women in Trinidad and Tobago report non-partner sexual violence, one in 10 report sexual abuse as a child. Violence is so endemic that its reduction and prevention should be treated as a national emergency. The figures of child sexual abuse and incest are very, very high. By the time we get to femicide, no wonder it is also high.

Hosein says any efforts by the state to intervene in domestic violence or child abuse are seen as a threat to the ideology of the traditional family by predominantly Christian and male-dominated groups. “So the state is ambivalent and just not responding,” she says.

This year’s report on illicit weapons in the region states: “The proliferation of firearms in the Caribbean region is arguably a catalyst for a more violent and, in turn, increasingly dangerous environment for women.”

When questioned about femicide in April 2022, the prime minister, Keith Rowley, appeared to shrug off the issue with a dismissive: “We are a violent society.”

Across the Caribbean, Jamaica, Barbados, St Vincent and St Lucia all had high murder rates in 2022. The region suffers almost three times the global average in terms of violent deaths.

Read the full story here

The Guardian

Locations: Trinidad Tobago Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Caribbean Jamaica Barbados Saint Vincent Saint Lucia 

Organizations: University of the West Indies 

People: Gabrielle Hosein Keith Rowley 

Tags: Femicide Homicide Mass Death Crime Guns Corruption Drugs Sexual Violence Christianity Religion 

Type: Headlines