It is long past the time when rhetoric should be considered ‘assertive action’ in the context of domestic violence prevention. The fact is that many have talked the talk over the years, but not followed up by requisite action; an attitude that reflects otherization – the attitude of expecting others to walk one’s talk.
I’m aware that, many years ago, at least one NGO involved in domestic violence prevention had approached the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry to partner in the journey to reduce this form of abuse, and had offered appropriate free training to all members of the Chamber. To date, that offer has not been acknowledged.
However, the recent outpouring of the Chamber gives hope that attitudes have changed, and so I suggest that the Chamber follows up its words with necessary action by ensuring that it be designated a domestic violence-free zone, along with all its members; and that domestic violence prevention training be offered to all its members and their staff.
All its members should also include counselling and other support services for all their employees, as it would be useful should any such employee is experiencing domestic abuse.
The Chamber should also ensure that all its members foster ongoing domestic violence prevention by collaborating to set up billboards and other signage; by including messages in their advertisements, especially on radio, TV and in the newspapers; by supporting NGOs that are engaged in domestic violence prevention; and by having their leaders become spokespersons for domestic violence prevention.
Also, within their respective communities and among their employees, all the Chamber’s members should foster training of lay counsellors, who can be the first responders with respect to domestic violence prevention. I know of NGOs that offer such training for free.
In short, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry should lead the way in walking its talk with respect to domestic violence prevention, thereby setting an example for others to follow.