1,000+ domestic violence cases per year

(Posted: 04/03/11) In excess of a thousand domestic violence cases are reported across the country of Belize each year, although so many go under the radar of mainstream media. The recent killing of Christie Carrasco in Orange Walk this past Monday has catapulted the issue of violence against women by their lovers or spouses back into the public spotlight.

In excess of a thousand domestic violence cases are reported across the country of Belize each year, although so many go under the radar of mainstream media. The recent killing of Christie Carrasco in Orange Walk this past Monday has catapulted the issue of violence against women by their lovers or spouses back into the public spotlight.

There are men who report being abused by their spouses as well, although statistically, the reports from women are far more common.

In 2009, for example, 18% of reports were made by men, whereas over 80% of reports were made by women.

Sexual abuse cases were less frequently reported by males; however, where those allegations were made, the majority of complaints were against spouses, including common-law spouses. The trend was the same for female complainants.

Whereas most domestic violence cases do not end in the murder of the victim or perpetrator, there are, regrettably, notable cases that do. Many victims end up having to seek protection orders against their abusers.

Upon our newspaper’s request, Amandala was supplied with domestic violence data for all of 2009 and the first 9 months of 2010, and it is clear that the number of cases for 2010, on average per month, exceeded the cases filed in 2009.

The two problem districts are the Belize and Corozal Districts, where, in proportion to the population size of the two districts, the number of domestic violence reports have been comparable. The remaining four districts have much lower incidences of domestic violence reports.

Judging from the data we have had a chance to peruse, the most troubled group is women ages 20 to 34 – the same age group to which Carrasco belonged.

Furthermore, the bulk of complaints arose from situations where lovers were living together, unmarried. There were some instances of divorcees also being embattled in disputes with their exes, but married women reported substantially morecases than divorcees.

More than three-fourths of the domestic violence cases were reported by women between the ages of 15 and 44, the most economically productive age group in the country.

This violence takes on varied forms, the most common being emotional, verbal, physical, and, more specifically, sexual abuse. Other types of abuse include economic abuse, and neglect and abandonment.

The data provided to Amandala by the Women’s Department came from the Epidemiology Unit in the Ministry of Health, supplied with reports from both private and public agencies.

Amandala