Mr Speaker, yesterday Jamaica joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It is a necessary commemoration because violence is still a major factor of life for too many women. We now know from the results of the Women’s Health Survey:
– That one in every four women in Jamaica has been either slapped, beaten with fists, pushed, kicked, attacked with a weapon or threatened with a weapon by her male partner.
That a quarter of women in Jamaica have been sexually abused by men who are not their intimate partners.
– That the majority of men who sexually abuse women were ‘friends’ or acquaintances.
– That one out of every five women reported being sexually abused before reaching 18 years old and the person who did it was a family member or friend.
It is a sad reality that at this very moment, a woman and a girl and a family and a community in our country are experiencing the horrific effects and consequences of gender-based violence.
In commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women:
– we put special focus on the victims;
– we remind them that we have mechanisms in place to help them leave their abusive situations and rebuild their lives;
– we recommit as individuals and as a country to take action to end the violence;
– and we serve notice to men who continue to abuse women that enough is enough and we are coming for them.