Saturday, March 17, 2018

Let’s look out for one another

Another woman was killed, strangled to death at her home in Couva Saturday night, and her assailant walked to the police station, admitting to the crime.

He was in custody up to sometime yesterday, as officers continued their investigations into this latest incident in the continuing slaughter of women in this country, an escalating feature of the crime plague which has long taken hold here.

In yesterday's Express, we reported on the encircling sense of fear, the crippling culture of anxiety which has descended on our womenfolk.

Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Division), Patsy Joseph, told us in the report she has become convinced that women in the country are being targeted.

She was speaking in support of the sentiments now being expressed by larger numbers of women that, for example, many of them have serious misgivings about taking public transport after dark. They think twice before getting into a taxi, a “PH” car or even a maxi-taxi.

This sense of fear and anxiety is aggravated considerably by the fact that in more and more instances, regular taxis seem to disappear from their routes once darkness sets in. This is increasingly the case in more and more parts of the country where communities continue to emerge.

What has been revealed from our soundings among women who must travel on their own can be summed up this way. Unpredictability about their own surroundings, and the feeling of high vulnerability in their use of any one of these forms of transport, combine to produce a dizzying cocktail that drives more and more women to desperation, when it comes to travelling.

There is no gainsaying the fact that crimes against the person have seen a huge up-tick in our increasingly depressing statistics. And it seems women continue to be victims, in correspondingly larger numbers. You just don't know anything about the person who may get into the same vehicle as yourself. Whereas maxi-taxis appeared to be less anxiety-inducing, this is increasingly proving to be not so.

Tales of abduction and rape are interspersed among those of robbery itself as the possible consequences for women who must use taxis and maxi-taxis.

Much more sensitisation around the real dangers highlighted in our report on this matter is being called for, and it is one of the imperatives which should be taken on board as part of the activities forming part of the observances of International Women's Day during the course of this week.

But there are no easy solutions, since as we have pointed out here, a would-be attacker does not usually wear his intentions on his sleeve, or on his face, for that matter.

We have, nevertheless, to develop an even greater sense of what it means to be looking out for one another. Drivers must pay even greater attention to whom they are picking up, where this may present signs of nervousness to begin with. Because even in the absence of tell-tale signs of trouble up ahead, a gut-feeling, or a sense of uneasiness is ignored, with negative consequences down the road.

For our collective sake of safety and security, we have no choice but to remain alert to these dangers, at all times.