‘Stop the violence’
The following is a message from the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors’ Corps to commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
TODAY WE STAND in solidarity with our mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, nieces, girlfriends and every female in between to say: STOP! This ought to be the resounding message across the region in response to violence against females.
In this regard, it is the firm belief of the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Corps that violence against women, leaves scars that go beyond the physical and psychological marks that are left on those who are forced to endure it. Rather, it affects entire families, communities, countries and indeed our beloved region quite profoundly. To the abusers, we say STOP!
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women’s website reports that violence affects a significant percentage of women and girls in the Caribbean. It further states that regional instances of rape are higher than the global average and statistics suggest, where it is said that one in every three women experience domestic violence. Even so, a true picture of the prevalence is hampered by under-reporting, as many women are reluctant to report these crimes out of fear or shame. To the survivors, we say STOP! You are not to blame, speak up and speak out against your abusers.
As young regional leaders, we join the global community in seeking ways of eradicating these acts of violence. We too wish to shine some light into the dark corners of our societies, in which these acts occur. Wearing our glowing orange today, we remind ourselves and those around us that our women should always be respected. A woman is not a property to be owned. She also is not to be violated or abused. To those who think otherwise, we say STOP!
However, the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Corps cannot do it alone; we need the help of each and every person living in the Caribbean to ensure that the days of ‘see and don’t see’ are over. Turning a blind eye can cost a woman her life so we beg of you to STOP!
Young people of our region, today we make a special plea to you to make the conscious decision that violence against women ends with our generation. We therefore call on our governments, NGOs, law enforcement officers, policymakers, parents, churches, schools, clubs and wider society to renew your individual and collective commitments to eliminate violence against our women and girls. Today we come together to say: STOP the violence against women!