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Sixteen days of activism to halt violence against women

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Tue Nov 25, 2014

Today is the International Day to End Violence against Women and this day begins 16 days of global activism, until December 10, to halt this gross violation of women’s human rights that affects at least one in three women and girls worldwide.

In this tiny corner of the globe called St Vincent and the Grenadines, where violence against women and girls is far too prevalent, SEARCHLIGHT has joined the worldwide campaign to raise awareness and show solidarity with survivors of abuse.{{more}}

The colour orange has been chosen internationally for the issue, to symbolize a brighter future without violence against women. The SEARCHLIGHT logo on the masthead on the front and back pages of today’s newspaper is coloured orange to reflect our solidarity with the cause.

In today’s issue, we carry messages from UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka; Minister with responsibility for gender affairs Frederick Stephenson and Tracey Haines, Acting High Commissioner for Australia to Port of Spain (and other Eastern Caribbean countries, including St Vincent and the Grenadines).

In addition, we feature two stories which give updated statistics on several forms of violence perpetrated against girls and women in St Vincent and the Grenadines — statutory rape, incest, rape, domestic violence and murder.

We agree with Assistant Superintendant of Police Jonathan Nichols, head of the Police Public Relations Department that the number of cases of incest and sexual abuse among underage females is at a ridiculously high level; but so too are the numbers of women who are raped, murdered and abused.

Quite coincidentally, on today’s front page, we carry a disturbing story about a series of rapes which has been taking place in the Calliaqua district which includes the residential areas of Brighton, Prospect and Ratho Mill. All women, but especially those in these areas, are urged to be alert and to take every precaution to keep safe.

Perpetrators of these heinous acts very often are emboldened by the knowledge that victims of these sorts of crimes are hesitant to report them, for fear that they would be ridiculed or looked down upon in their community. We urge all victims to speak up!

It is therefore encouraging that officials in both the social welfare department and the police force have confirmed that more women have been coming forward to report these crimes than in previous years.

Despite this, Nichols laments the age old problem of victims or mothers of victims not wanting to go forward with cases after reports are made to the police. We encourage the police to press forward in these situations, if needs be, also bringing charges against those who wish to subvert the course of justice by not giving evidence when called upon to do so.

So, as we do our part to raise awareness of the awful violation of our girls and women by some of our men, we call on the entire community, especially our brothers, to join in the fight to bring about a brighter future without violence against women.

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