JIS News

President of the Association of Women’s Organisation (AWOJA), Hermionie McKenzie, has said that if Jamaica is to adequately address the issue of violence against women, then there must be a change in how females are perceived.
Mrs. McKenzie was speaking at the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) function, held recently at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston.
“There is a culture of violence against and disrespect for women, which makes it easy to do them harm. In our quest for the elimination of violence against our women this is the culture that we must address and improve. Punishment and legal remedies are only a part of the elimination of violence against women. We need prevention, which calls for a changing of mindset towards sexuality, violence and the ways in which women are perceived,” the AWOJA President affirmed.
Mrs. McKenzie conceded that while it may be impossible to eradicate violence in the society, “there is a form of violence against women that can be eliminated”.
This violence, she asserted is “that violence that regards a girl child or woman just as a “thing”, to be abused and thrown away like that poor woman who was thrown out of a car in Mona Heights 10 days ago or a “thing”, to be trafficked in modern sexual slavery or an object in the home to receive abuse. These are types of violence that can be and should be eliminated,” she emphasised.
The AWOJA President further impressed upon females to “value and do everything we can to protect ourselves” while commending “the role of the many Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), which work at the community level to uplift women, girls and boys, to improve community conditions, to offer succour and help to abused women”.
IDEVAW is one of a series of activities that will take place over a 16-day period from November 25 – December 10, to draw attention to the women and girls in Jamaica and across the world, who are victims of violence. Other activities include public education as well as gender sensitisation and training on issues relating to gender-based violence and human rights.
When women from Latin America and the Caribbean met in Bogota, Colombia in 1981, they proposed that a day be set aside each year as an international protest against violence against women. The day chosen was November 25, in tribute to the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, who were brutally assassinated on November 25, 1960, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961). On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly also designated November 25, as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.