JIS News

Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, has emphasised that women and men must fight to break the culture of violence against women and children.
Noting that over the past months, there have been some gruesome stories of violence perpetrated against Jamaican women and girls, Minister Grange said: “Let me categorically state that violence against women is unacceptable.”
“I am saddened because these crimes, too often, are sustained by a culture of silence and denial. We, the women of Jamaica and our men, must fight to break the culture of violence against our women and children,” she stressed.
In a statement to the House of Representatives on November 25, in observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, the Minister said the Government recognises that all forms of violence, especially against women, are contributing factors to women’s inability to enjoy their full human rights, and to contribute effectively to the country’s development.
“This is a very significant day, because it begins the 16 days of activism to end violence against women and is observed globally.It is a reminder that women want a world with equal opportunities and rights, free from sexual violence and domestic abuse and a world that is secure and safe for all,” Miss Grange said.
The Minister, who has responsibility for gender and women’s affairs, noted that in acknowledgement of a number of Treaties, the Government has reformed several national laws and facilitated policies to address gender- based violence.
She informed that some of the most recent discussions have focussed on amendments to legislation, including the Incest (Punishment) Act and the Offences against the Person Act, to form the Sexual Offences Act.
“In addition, the Child Pornographic Prevention Bill, is currently being drafted to criminalise production, possession, and distribution of child pornography,” Miss Grange said.
Supporting Minister Grange’s argument, Opposition Spokesperson on Information, Lisa Hanna, said that despite the various acts of violence carried out against women around the world, women have made many strides over the years. For example, she said that 55 per cent of all the food in the developing world is produced by women.
“The life expectancy of women is going up…31 per cent of the official labour force in developing countries are women, and close to 47 per cent of the work force in industrialised countries are women,” she added.
She pointed out that Jamaica has made significant progress in creating legislation for the benefit of women, including provisions for equal work for equal pay; maternity leave with pay; property rights for spouses; and child care and protection.
“As we mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we also need to recognise that women are perhaps the most critical force in leading our world to continued development.we are strong, decisive, hardworking, not only in Jamaica, but also around the world,” she said.
Miss Hanna called for renewed efforts to create more shelters for battered women, more stringent penalties for abusers of women with disabilities, and more training for police and counsellors who deal with battered women. She said health services should also be more focussed on women’s issues.

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