Jamaicans Urged to Build Safer and Healthier Family Relationships

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Acting Commissioner of Police, Novelette Grant (right), interacts with baby Brianna as her mother, Kandice Davidson (centre), is presented with a box of chocolates by Senior Vice President, Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Flow Jamaica, Rochelle Cameron. Occasion was an empowerment session held at the Women Resource Outreach Centre (WROC), Beechwood Avenue, in Kingston on February 14. Held under the theme: ‘Love Me to Live, Don’t Love Me to Death’, the session was organised by the LASCO/Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Top Cop finalists for 2016-2017.

Story Highlights

  • Acting Commissioner of Police (ACP), Novelette Grant, is imploring Jamaicans to begin building safer and healthier relationships, starting with that between parent and child.
  • She reminded parents that they have a responsibility to demonstrate healthy relationships “so your children can learn from you, because if they don’t learn to have healthy relationships by watching you, they are (likely) to get involved in abusive relationships.”
  • Mrs. Grant noted that oftentimes children are exposed to various forms of abuse from they are toddlers, “and by the time they are 10 (years old) their minds and their spirits are crushed worse than that piece of paper.”

Acting Commissioner of Police (ACP), Novelette Grant, is imploring Jamaicans to begin building safer and healthier relationships, starting with that between parent and child.

She stressed that this initial interaction is of utmost importance, as the relationship between parents and children “basically sets the foundation for the family life, community life, and the life that we want as a nation.”

Mrs. Grant was speaking during a women’s empowerment session held at the Women Resource Outreach Centre’s (WROC) Beechwood Avenue location in Kingston on February 14.

She reminded parents that they have a responsibility to demonstrate healthy relationships “so your children can learn from you, because if they don’t learn to have healthy relationships by watching you, they are (likely) to get involved in abusive relationships.”

ACP Grant lamented that some parents are not mindful that the hurtful words, actions and treatment of their children are “seriously damaging” them. She pointed out as well that many children are witnessing abuse in their homes, which should be the safest place for them.

She urged parents to care and nurture their children so that they will be responsible, well-adjusted adults. “We want you to treat them as the valuable gifts they are,” she said. She added that when parents discipline their children, they need to “correct with love, not abuse.”

Mrs. Grant noted that children should not be exposed to domestic violence as this often results in a vicious cycle of unhealthy relationships, which puts communities in crisis.

“It’s not a private matter. When you abuse a child and you behave violently as adults in front of a child, that child takes that lesson and goes on the road with it, goes to the school with it. That child with the damaged emotions, the damaged spirit, the damaged psyche – cannot easily get into healthy relationships,” she said.

Through the simple exercise of having her audience crumple a piece of paper, ACP Grant provided them with a vivid example of the consequences of an abusive home. The crumpled paper represented an abused child. She then asked them to return the paper back to its previous state, which was an impossible task.

“You see what you do to your child’s mind? You see what you do to the emotion of your child – that is what you are doing – crushing them, then you send them into school and expect teachers to fix them, you send them out into the community and you expect the police to fix them …we can’t fix them,” she said.

Mrs. Grant noted that oftentimes children are exposed to various forms of abuse from they are toddlers, “and by the time they are 10 (years old) their minds and their spirits are crushed worse than that piece of paper.”

Turning to relations between spouses, she noted that persons ought to be honest with their emotions, and not let differences or disagreements get to the point where interactions become abusive.

“We want non-violent forms of self-expression. You don’t have to express yourself with violence – neither in words nor in deeds,” she said.

ACP Grant also implored persons to respect other people’s personal space, and not perpetrate unwanted advances.

“We need to have sexual respect – understanding that no means no, and if I say don’t touch me, it’s not because I think I am better than you, it’s because my body is my own and I never gave you permission to touch me,” she said.

This, she said, also traces back to the socialisation from the home, where boys need to be taught appropriate boundaries as well as girls, “so that they don’t accept just about any treatment.”

Held under the theme: ‘Love Me to Live, Don’t Love Me to Death’, the session was organised by the LASCO/Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Top Cop finalists for 2016-2017. The 12 finalists, who are all males, put on the event as a demonstration of their united stand against violence against women in Jamaica.

Participants were provided with personal safety tips and benefited from motivational talks from Senior Vice President, Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Flow Jamaica, Rochelle Cameron; Student Services and Development Manager at the University of the West Indies, Nadeen Spence; Manager, Brand Experience and Special Projects, Sagicor Group Marketing, Alysia Moulton-White; and media personality Emprezz Golding.

The Police Officer of the Year award was established in 2000 through a partnership between LASCO and the JCF to publicly acknowledge the professionalism and dedication of the members of the force.

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