16 Days of Activism

As the Deputy Premier and Minister for Gender Affairs, I am pleased to reaffirm the Government and the country’s firm stance of ‘zero-tolerance’ for gender violence and to support the 2009 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign.

Gender-based violence is a problem of significant proportions that affects not only the Cayman Islands but all societies worldwide. Violence against women is viewed by many as the most pervasive yet least recognized human rights abuse in the world. The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Commit ? Act ? Demand: We CAN End Violence Against Women!’

This theme was chosen to honour the groups and individuals who have committed to bringing violence against women to the forefront of global attention, to encouraging everyone in their various capacities to take action to end violence against women, and to demanding accountability for all of the promises made to eliminate the problem.

Violence against women is one of the most critical problems facing women across all racial, cultural, educational, social and economic divides in the world.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, as many as one in every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way – most often by someone she knows, including by her husband or another male family member; one woman in four has been abused during pregnancy.

In Cayman, we cannot ignore the unfortunate fact that, especially in recent times, violence against women occurs in every community on all three of our islands.

It is indeed timely that the Protection Against Domestic Violence Bill (2009) is currently out for public consultation during the 16 Days Campaign. I encourage the public to review and comment on this important draft bill by November 30th. By providing comments on this draft bill that seeks to expand the definition of domestic violence and offer broader protection to victims of domestic violence, you can do your part to be involved in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign.

Let us all make the commitment to do our part during this 16 Days Campaign, for we all have a responsibility to end gender-based violence together.

May God continue to bless and protect the women, children and men of the Cayman Islands.

Juliana O’Connor-Connolly

Minister for Gender Affairs