As Trinidad and Tobago tries to come to terms with the heinous murders of Ashanti Reiley and Andrea Bharatt, and protests and vigils continue for more to be done to address gender based violence in the country. Clinical and community psychologist Dr. Peter Weller is suggesting that we are underestimating the impact of the effects of the covid-19 pandemic on people. The stresses and their impact on persons are not being adequately addressed which is manifesting in many of the behaviors and crimes we are seeing today. There is not enough attention being paid to the psychological effects of the pandemic conditions on the population and many of the responses are too superficial to have any meaningful impact.
Speaking to IzzSo media Dr. Weller said these violent behaviors have been socialized for decades. Effective interventions must be across the life span, and not as knee jerk responses that are not sustained. Behavior change must be driven by understanding how societies institutions impact boys. Also we need to provide consistent support to boys to guide their behaviors from parents, teachers, media, leaders role models etc. It cannot be a one off in response to news headlines but a well planned consistent approach that reaches many age groups and varying situations.
He also said one of the deeper issues is the paratracheal society, it’s value systems and how this value system impacts on how boys and young men see girls and women. Marches and protests are part of the interventions that bring awareness about gender inequities that manifest in society as abuse, rape and other maladaptive behaviors that can end up also in heinous murders we have and continue to see.