The fight against gender based violence in this country continues as the Ministry of National Mobilisation, Social Development, the Family, Gender and Youth Affairs, tackles this serious issue which plagues the Vincentian society.
The Ministry has embarked on its 16 days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence Campaign, under the theme, “Leave No One Behind: End Violence Against Women and Girls”. The Campaign began on 25th November, and will run to 10th December. Through this initiative, a number of activities will be held during this period to raise awareness among Vincentians on the issue.
As part of activities to mark the 16 days of activism, the Ministry held a press conference on Monday, 27th November, to brief the media and the public about the roles and responsibilities of the key agencies in addressing domestic violence in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The press conference was also the platform for introducing the members of the newly established National Commission on Gender-based Violence. This Commission was established by cabinet as an advisory commission to function as an oversight body for the implementation of a multi-sectorial response to Gender-based Violence in which state and civil society partners collaborate.
Assistant Co-ordinator of the Gender Affairs Division, Ms. La Fleur Quammie-Harry, said that the 16 days of activism is used as an opportunity to galvanize actions to end violence against women and girls. She noted that through this program they hope to engage the males, as it is important to partner with the men to accelerate progress in preventing and ending violence against women and girls.
Minister of National Mobilisation, Social Development, the Family, Gender and Youth Affairs, Hon. Frederick Stephenson, provided background information in relation to the National Commission on Gender-based Violence. According to Minister Stephenson, a number of efforts, including law reform, were undertaken by the Government of this country to address gender-based violence. He added that the newly established National Commission on Gender-based Violence is also a part of such efforts. He introduced the members of Commission and urged them to work diligently to end gender-based violence in this country.
Representatives from some of the organisations that comprise the National Commission on Gender-based Violence, namely the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, the Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police and the Gender Affairs Division, brought some enlightenment on the protocols and procedures to domestic violence reports, respective to their organisations.
Gender-based violence against women is a human rights violation, and both a cause and consequence of unequal power relationships between men and women. It is a public health concern with serious consequences on women’s physical, sexual and reproductive and mental health. The Ministry’s 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence against women and girls culminates on 10th December.