A tragic start to Holy Week
March 28, 2024
A tragic start to Holy Week

A wave of discussions has been sparked in this society by another vicious act of crime, a heinous murder of a female teenager from Kingstown whose body was found a few miles away from her home on Palm Sunday morning. According to police the body appeared to have been dumped over a bank and was found with what appeared to be wounds. Investigations are ongoing.

It was a tragic start to what is traditionally the holiest week in the Christian calendar, fittingly called Holy Week. Traditionally, it is a week when there have been few such tragic occurrences, so it is with a great deal of shock that the news has been received. It has also revived fears about personal safety on the eve of the Easter holiday, a time when there are many outdoor activities.

The latest development has also revived the discussions about continuing crime in our society. The focus has tended to be on gun crimes, especially among male youths, but this development is a rude awakening that other forms of violence are still very much present, and that often our women are the hapless victims.

Many have been the social actions protesting acts of violence against women, some of them fatally brutal. We have had prayers, marches and rallies, supplications of all sorts, but the problem is still very much with us. In the media, particularly in social media, the public is having its say, trying to analyse this unfortunate development and apportioning blame to the usual suspects- home, family, societal breakdown etc. But we seem to be no closer to finding solutions.

Given that Holy Week is traditionally a time for deep reflection, it would be wise for us to do some societal introspection on this tragic aspect of our society. While in each case there must be specific circumstances, there must be wider factors that have led to such violent acts.

Over the years fuelled by a “macho” culture, especially in the media via music and film, we have become far more tolerant of violence. It has become, unfortunately, a major means of settling conflicts, particularly where young males are concerned. The gun culture and existence of gangs is but one aspect, the escalating violence against women, of all ages, is another. In addition, the victims are often blamed for their unfortunate calamity.

As we lament the loss of many of our Lenten and Easter traditions, we need to also conduct deep introspection on the erosion of the hallowed values of love, respect for our fellow citizens and non-violence as ongoing daily practices. Clearly we need a renewed emphasis on conflict resolution and above all to nurture an abiding respect for our women.