Jearlean John: Violent language contributes to violent society

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

UNC deputy political leader Jearlean John at Sunday’s news conference at the Leader of the Opposition’s Office in Port of Spain. Photo by Sureash Cholai

United National Congress (UNC) deputy political leader Jearlean John says the casual rhetoric of violence used by politicians has an effect on the society. She appealed to the Prime Minister to reign in his language which, she said, is contributing to violence against women in TT.

At the UNC’s weekly media conference on Sunday, John said the current intolerable state of crime happened under Dr Rowley’s watch.

“He has said we are a violent nation and people are coming to prove it true. We must examine the core of the violence. There is so much hatred that exists in our national politics. We have been normalised into accepting crude, nasty, bellicose speech.

“When Rowley pours scorn on the Opposition Leader, the first female PM of TT, talking about her peeping in her nightie, he is enabling people to think that women are not to be respected. When he roars at people, he is telling parents that they don’t need to listen to their children. Take down the temperature PM, the violent rhetoric, little boys and big men are listening. Words matter, and the PM has the largest bully pulpit in the nation.”

She urged Rowley to “hate men who sever women’s necks and kill their young children, adults who are not accountable and who don’t take responsibility for the upbringing of their children, predators who rape and kill women, who support gangs, who won’t make cameras functional and won’t bring pepper spray, because if women had the pepper spray, it might give them a fighting chance.”

John said with the uptick in domestic violence during the pandemic lockdowns, children who saw their parents fighting are now coming out to school and re-enacting what they saw. She said there needs to be a whole of TT approach to national violence.

“We are not saying to leave it to the government, everybody has to be involved. Every member of Parliament, every councillor, every temple, mosque, church, everybody who sits in a community, we all need to be singing from the same hymn book to bring TT back from the edge of which it’s poised.”