To the Editor:
We find ourselves in a very discouraging place in 2020.
I hope, as a population, we learn some important lessons as a result of the anguish caused by the Dartmouth denturist. Too often we spend time looking for someone, a service provider or sometimes just anybody, to blame. Most recently, there has been controversy over an inquiry; an inquiry needs to happen, but let us as a community, learn from the resulting unbiased information, rather than point fingers at who each of us have predetermined did, or did not, react in the most efficient manner during that 15 hour “nightmare” incident.
There is a drastic need for us to recognize the fact that a “Culture of Silence” exists all around us and it successfully “covers for” many acts of violence against women and gun culture. “Systemic” is the term that can apply here. Total elimination of this dark side of our lives is a huge task and will require some very bold and courageous actions by many people.
Victims need to be given a secure venue and protection in return for full disclosure; there needs to be recognition that more than a bruise or a black eye result from the acts of domestic violence. How do we better assess the effects of violent action that is caused by the various forms of emotional, verbal, threatening and intimidating abuse? What are the real effects of such stress on everyone? Stress may be diagnosed, but the source of such stress is rarely investigated.
Our justice system needs to be revised as some of our laws are ancient. Front line “specialists in uniform” and other service providers need to have the confidence that, when they present charges to the courts, their evidence will be received with respect and they, too, will get a “fair” hearing. Lawyers must recognize that perpetrators of domestic violence, yes are innocent until proven guilty, yet the victim’s and witness voices on the issue are most crucial to the overall assessment of the situation and should never be diminished. Crown prosecutors could be less lenient and tougher in recommending remediation actions.
Doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers are prepared to assess and are willing to make recommendations in the area of mental health. We should not be old-fashioned about the science of mental health and continue to brush it under the rug.
We need to be better prepared to recognize the fact that some fraction of “abuse “at some level of severity is evident in each and everyone of us. Recognition is key! Commission someone with education and experience to give professional advice. Most importantly, we need to listen.
My earnest hope is that:
We all learn, after being exposed to the worst act of domestic violence our country has ever witnessed. We all find a way to “empower” our population to eliminate acts of domestic violence in our households, families and communities. We commission our political partners to provide leadership by updating our laws and taking decisive actions toward a collective cause — the eradication of domestic violence.
John A. McLean
Green Hill, Pictou County