And she is calling on the police to do more to protect our women.
Ayers-Caesar said atatistics for the period January 2015 to December 2016 showed there were 56,744 domestic violence cases filed in all 13 magisterial districts.
She said this was why it is import for all authorities, especially the police, to ensure protection orders are enforced.
She added, “If someone goes to the police station…let’s say before an order has been breached, the thinking cannot be go back home and try to fix it or get a JP and file a complaint.
“The police have a role to play at that point in time. One that is done and a perpetrator is brought before the court, which will deal with that.”
She said upon the initial breach of a protection order, the perpetrator is fine and in the second instance jailed.
On complaints that the police did not seriously heed domestic violence matters, she agreed that more could be done.
“There must be some sort of sensitization of police officers so that they understand what is important…It comes down to a matter of life and death and they need to act and to act quickly,” the Chief Magistrate added.
“Moving out of your home or sometimes running with your children deter a lot of women from seeking protection.
“We want women to know there is help out there. Coming to the court does not mean that is the end of your family. It may be a means of saving your life,” Ayers-Caesar added.
On the high spate of abuse against women by men, she urged parents to speak to their boys at an early age.
“A lot of parents seem to think that these ‘soft issues’ are not issues to deal with and we have to move away from that. Men need to understand that women are not property and that’s the thinking even in 2017 of a lot a men.”
She called on men to be mature enough to step away from relationships which failed or were falling apart instead of resorting to violence.
“You have to put on this hard exterior, but every time I see a young man or a young woman before me for murder it breaks your heart, because I have young children and it touches me in that way. So I see it as a mother and it is very disheartening.”
Describing the crime situation as very troubling, she said every life lost was one too many.
She added, “It is troubling because I live here and it places a certain amount of fear in you, but because we keep hearing two and three murders every day there are some of us who have become so insensitive to it.”
The Chief Magistrate continued, “For example, look at the newspapers… We no longer put it on the front page. We just see a little number at the top to just remind us. It is not in our faces any more and maybe it should be in our faces.”
She said a lot of the crime and violence stemmed from the homes, adding that the products of society also came from the home.
She appealed to the gun-toting young men to put down the weapons and instead take up a “holy book.”
“If the young men would put down the guns and take up the Bible, we would be in a much better place and parents also need to take responsibility, as a family that prays together stays together,” she declared.
“We have just thrown out all these values and we need to bring them back.”
Regarding efforts by the various churches to hold nationwide prayer services in light of the upsurge in violence, she said while this was laudable churches also needed to reach out to the young population.