Jamaicans urged to help end violence against women


Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, has called on Jamaicans to do their part in working to end violence against women, even as the government continues to take critical steps through policy development and implementation to eliminate the problem.
“Let us each reflect on the practices that we actively or passively promote that contribute to violence against women. We can’t turn our heads and look the other way as if we don’t know or see what is happening. If we do this, we are just as guilty,” she stated.
The Minister, who was speaking at a forum in observance of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women held on Thursday (November 25) at the
St. Andrew Parish Church Hall, said that despite some improvements, women continue to face a wide range of human rights violations, including domestic abuse, sexual assault, harassment and in some instances modern day slavery.
She said statistics indicate that there has been an increase in sexual violence against women, although many of the incidents still go unreported. “In Jamaica, police statistics for 2007 show, 151 women were killed, in 2008 this increased to 165; however there was a marginal reduction in 2009 with some 160 women killed,” she informed. “Let us hope and pray and fight to ensure that this year there is a further reduction.”
Miss Grange said the Government of Jamaica recognises that violence against women is an ongoing concern and has been working to eliminate the scourge through policy development and implementation, ongoing collection of sex disaggregating data, programme development and public education and training.
“It is an issue for which failure is not an option, as the consequences of violence are far reaching and it affects all age groups, and all social groupings,” she remarked.
Miss Grange further informed that her Ministry, through the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, has been involved in sustained action, including legal reform, aimed at eliminating such violence.
She also noted that through the work of the Bureau, government workers, such as immigration officers, police officers and members of the justice system have received training and information on matters such as the trafficking of persons, and sexual harassment.
“The Ministry also provides financial and technical support to selected women’s and men’s organisation such as the Women’s Crisis Centre and Father’s Inc.,” she noted.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women has been observed every year since 1981 on November 25. The day also marks the beginning of 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women, culminating on December 10, which is celebrated as International Human Rights Day.

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