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FHC head calls for laser beam focus on domestic violence

Published:Friday | December 14, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Roxann Linton (left), CEO of First Heritage Credit Union, in conversation with Rotarian and past Assistant Governor Noel Osbourne at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Kingston East and Port Royal.

In a plea for voluntary organisations to focus on what she calls the “disease of violence and abuse caused by failing relationships”, CEO of First Heritage Cooperative Credit Union (FHC) Roxann Linton has proposed that voluntary organisations and the private sector join forces to put in place an implementable action plan to address this scourge.

Pointing to a recent study which found that 25 per cent of Jamaican women aged 16 to 64 have experienced physical abuse by their partners, Linton argued that this is a problem which must be of concern to leaders at all levels of the society.

“If we go by the national statistics, it means that in my own organisation, which has almost 190 women on the team, while we may never know for sure, it is likely that 47 of them come to work broken daily, weekly, afflicted by this scourge,” said Linton.

“This is not an issue that is remote or far-fetched. It occurs within arm’s reach of us. Domestic abuse has to be a cause for concern because our women, young and mature ... have to contend regularly with unseen bruises to their bodies and spirits,” added Linton, who is also president of Jamaica Sister Society, the Jamaican chapter of the Global Women’s Leadership Network.

She argued that intimate-partner violence, or sexual violence, causes serious short- and long-term physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health problems for women.

According to Linton, the abuse of the women also affects their children, and increases the social and economic costs facing them with a direct correlation on their levels of productivity.

While pointing to the growth of FHC over the past two years, including an 18 per cent increase in its assets, Linton argued that for Jamaicans to live their best lives there must be a “fixing of dysfunctional relationships”.

She added: “Percentage growth means little to hungry children, abused women or disenfranchised men. Fiscal management does not compute for the emasculated father who takes his frustrations out on his wife with their children as witnesses and victims.”

Linton, who was addressing a meeting of Rotary Kingston East and Port Royal last week, urged the Rotarians to address the growing problem by focusing upcoming programmes on the World Health Organization’s Global Plan of Action to strengthen the role of health systems within national multi-sectoral responses to address interpersonal violence against women girls, and children.

“It has 10 elements ­ from research and human rights to community participation and sensitisation. Perhaps you can target some of your projects for 2019 in this direction.

“FHC and the Jamaica Sister Society, a global credit union initiative which inspires, empowers and connects with women within the movement, with the aim of leadership development, mentoring and projects to assist disadvantaged women in the society, are committed to working with you on that,” said Linton.