Letters the the Editor: 16 Days of activism

As minister responsible for gender
affairs, it is fitting during the time of the 16 Days of Activism Against
Gender Violence to take the opportunity to reaffirm the Government and the
country’s firm stance against gender violence.

Gender-based violence is a problem
of significant proportions that affects not only the Cayman Islands but all
societies worldwide.

Gender-based violence is directed
at an individual based on her or his specific gender role in a society and can
affect females or males. However, gender-based violence affects women and girls
disproportionately as it is violence intended to establish or reinforce gender
hierarchies and perpetuate gender inequalities.

This year marks the 20th
anniversary that the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership began the coordination
of the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign, and
with this important landmark, the CWGL is considering new ways to utilise the
campaign for transformative change. This year the international theme is Structures
of Violence: Defining the Intersections of Militarism and Violence Against
Women.

In the Cayman Islands, we are
fortunate enough to not experience the devastation of living in a country torn
apart by war or violent civil unrest. However, this does not mean that there
are not victims of gender-based violence living among us that feel as though
their homes are war zones or they have experienced the ravages of their own
psychological battle scars.  

Domestic violence is considered the
most common form of gender-based violence in the Cayman Islands. The enactment
of the new Protection from Domestic Violence Law, 2010 is a proactive stance by
Government that recognises the many forms of domestic violence and ensures as
many persons as possible have access to protection from this type of
gender-based violence. 

The Ministry of Gender Affairs is
currently working to produce educational brochures on the new aspects of the
Protection from Domestic Violence Law, 2010. The brochures will be targeted to
front-line workers and the general public and will be released in the very near
future.

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. 

During the 16 Days of Activism
Campaign, representatives from the Ministry of Gender Affairs and the Royal
Cayman Islands Police Service will be attending a regional seminar in Trinidad
that is sponsored and funded by the Economic Commission of Latin America and
the Caribbean. The purpose of the seminar is to strengthen each country’s
ability to use administrative records to collect data on the extent that
violence that is perpetrated against women in the Caribbean.  

We anticipate that the information
obtained from this seminar will be useful to Government’s efforts to strengthen
institutional collaboration between agencies that collect data and to provide
best practices in which to generate data for regional and international
reporting on various forms of violence against women and domestic
violence.  Additionally, the Government
will be considering the establishment of a National Commission on Gender and
Family Violence in 2011 as yet another means of ensuring that agencies are
working in a more collaborative manner and strengthening the systematic
responses for the victims of violence.

I commend the local Business and
Professional Women’s Club for leading this campaign every year. Additionally, I
thank the many Government, non-government, and faith-based organisations that
will take part in the campaign or other campaigns throughout the year and those
who work with victims and perpetrators of gender based violence on a daily
basis. The Family Resource Centre, in recognition of the 16 Days Campaign, will
be conducting the Domestic Violence Intervention Training Programme for police
officers and other front-line professionals who work with victims.

These social issues require a
holistic and collaborative approach, including incorporating men as a part of
the solution to end gender- based violence.

Let us all make the commitment – as
individuals and as organisations – to do our part during this 16 Days Campaign
to speak out against gender-based violence, for we all have a responsibility to
improve the fabric of our families and our communities.

The 16 Days of Activism Against
Gender Violence runs from 25 November to 10 December, 2010.

 

Mike Adam
Minister for Community Affairs, Gender, and Housing

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