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    • Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, Hon. Olivia Grange, is imploring members of society to break the silence surrounding domestic violence.
    • “Don't turn a blind eye. Don't keep your silence, because if you speak up, if you stand up and talk up you will be able to save a life,” she said.
    • The Minister, who was addressing the ‘Stand Up, Talk Up’ public forum at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston on Friday (November 29), said that persons should reject the notion that domestic abuse is a private matter.

    Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, Hon. Olivia Grange, is imploring members of society to break the silence surrounding domestic violence.

    “Don’t turn a blind eye. Don’t keep your silence, because if you speak up, if you stand up and talk up you will be able to save a life,” she said.

    The Minister, who was addressing the ‘Stand Up, Talk Up’ public forum at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston on Friday (November 29), said that persons should reject the notion that domestic abuse is a private matter.

    “It is everybody’s business, so I don’t want to hear anybody say, ‘me a mind mi own business or nobody nuh business in a man and women business’.

    “We are using the opportunity to say to all of you, if you know of a situation, don’t be silent, because you can save someone’s life. Today we are saying there is no excuse for abuse,” she said.

    Ms. Grange pointed out that gender-based violence can be psychological, physical and sexual.

    She said that the Government is providing counselling and other interventions to help victims, and three State-run shelters are to be established to provide refuge for women and their children.

    The Ministry has already completed the acquisition of one property and is finalising the purchase of the other two.

    Head of Cooperation, Canadian High Commission, Pascale Turcotte, said her Government endorses Jamaica’s efforts to reduce gender-based violence and pledged continued support in the fight.

    “We do congratulate Jamaica on the progress made to raise awareness about how we can reduce and prevent violence against women, and the steps taken to implement the national strategy action plan on eliminating gender-based violence,” she said.

    “This way of life must stop, and Canada agrees with the Government of Jamaica and with the people of Jamaica, that it’s time to stand up, talk up; gender-based violence is not a private matter. It is a matter of public importance, and we must galvanise action from all sectors of society,” she said.

    Head of Delegation of the European Union in Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, for her part, said gender-based violence is an issue that concerns everyone and one that the European Union is committed to eliminating.

    “We must not get weary in our commitment and efforts to fight against violence against women. The problem is too pervasive, and too many women and families, especially children, are depending on us to show them the way to escape the tyranny of those who prey on them,” she said.

    Ambassador of Spain to Jamaica, Josep Bosch, said that gender-based violence is a global problem but that Spain’s model has shown that change is possible.

    He said that the way forward is education coupled with legislation.

    The ‘Stand Up, Talk Up’ public forum was part of activities by the Bureau of Genders Affairs (BGA) to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW), which was observed on November 25.

    The BGA has organised 16 days of activities, which will end on December 10, with the observance of International Human Rights Day.