16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign

| 25/11/2014

Though we are mainly known for tropical weather and beautiful beaches, the Caribbean is also one of the most violent regions in the world and experiences a deplorable level of violence against women and girls. Here in the Cayman Islands we are not spared the evils of gender-based violence, which by definition includes rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking in women, forced prostitution, sexual harassment and harmful cultural practices.

Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and also the first day of the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence campaign, which runs through 10th December – International Human Rights Day – to reaffirm that women’s rights are human rights. We must respect the dignity of all people and their right to live a life free from violence.

Focusing on violence against women is not to ignore the suffering of boys and men, who are also victims of domestic and sexual violence as well as disproportionate victims of homicide and other violent crimes. However, historical inequities and cultural stereotypes do make women and girls more vulnerable to gender-based violence and at this time of the year we focus on their particular circumstances and needs.

Gender based violence encompasses many difficult topics that are often hard to talk about, especially in public. However, that is exactly what we must do in order to decrease such violence. We have laws on the books and many services and resources available, but until we change our mindset we will never eliminate this scourge.

We cannot separate public and private crime; robberies at our local businesses and murders in our streets are not removed from domestic violence in our homes and sexual assault in our bedrooms. Yet we do not condemn these crimes with the same conviction. We often think victims must have motives to lie about their experiences or that what has occurred is not a crime but rather a private matter between two individuals. Or we may ask what she did to anger her partner, or wonder how much she drank that night.

This social tolerance of violence and victim blaming and shaming is unacceptable. Those who would turn a blind eye to violence or who discriminate against victims of gender-based crimes by treating them differently than they would a person who states that he or she has been burgled or assaulted are not a part of the solution.

Government has a responsibility to keep people safe and the anti-violence legal framework in our nation is strong and progressive. We do recognise that there are areas where implementation and capacity building can be improved and are committed to strengthening our laws and policies, putting mechanisms in place to build more inclusive and supportive structures to enforce them, and also addressing the root causes of these crimes to prevent violence from occurring in the first place.

However, these laws and policies will not work without support from stakeholders and from the general public. As citizens and residents of the Cayman Islands, we must work together for a safer community, and national security must include a focus on making homes, schools, workplaces and social settings safe. Violence against women is systemic, and it has been allowed to flourish in our society as a result of gender inequality. We are therefore all accountable for changing this offensive reality.

The 16 Days of Activism campaign is an organising strategy and an opportunity to renew our commitment to addressing these pervasive abuses that are often unacknowledged, under acknowledged or worse, denied. Violence against women is a public health issue; it has severe negative effects on children who witness and/or are victims of violence; it affects national productivity; and it is an obstacle to social development and true and lasting peace. Violence threatens the physical integrity of women and girls, limits their choices and affects their daily lives.

On this occasion, let us all therefore engage meaningfully in action to address gender-based violence however and wherever we can. I urge you all to join me in considering the ways in which we can challenge the structures which perpetuate gender-based violence, enact positive change and eliminate violence in our Islands. We owe it to our women and girls and also to our men and boys.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A good start to effect the practice of this message would be to allow and encourage ALL law abiding residents and visitors the ability to protect themselves!

    • Anonymous says:

      If by which you are meaning access to guns, then I would question a policy that would have the effect of increasing the number of deaths as a result of domestic violence as a valid response to the issues raised in the piece.

  2. Judean People's Front says:

    " And at this time, a man shall lose another man's hammer, and those little things put aside by his wife, only just the night before, will remain lost"


  3. Anonymous says:

    As long as you allow churches to preach that men are superior to women, you won't get rid of the problem, since religion is the root of gender discrimination.

    • Anonymous says:

      What rubbish. The church does not teach that men are superior to women, and most people in Cayman are not guided by what religion has to say in any event. In atheist China boys are more highly valued than girls. Society needs to own these issues andstop hiding behind nonsense rants like those.  

      But there is something more sinister in your post: "allow churches to preach…" sounds like you think that the state should control the content of sermons.  The real meaning of separattion of church and state is that the state must not interfere with religion or try to dictate its beliefs.   

      • Anonymous says:

        If you teach people the Adam and Eve story, where Adam was created first and Eve was just a playmate for Adam madeout of a rib, you put superiority in favor of the man.

        Once you refer to god as "he" and since jesus was not a girl, you have another foundation for inequality.

        The bible has mostly stories about important men than women.

        Listen to 103.1 for a while and it is all about women having to serve men.

        Need more ?

    • Anonymous. says:

      In the Bible, Eve was taken out from Adam's side. That means equality, as to be not under him or over him!  That is how I was taught. And God chose men to be the figure-heads and leaders. This had nothing to do with men being better than women. It was just that men had a role to play throughout salvation history. Women had their roles as well, mainly pillars in the family and contributory to the order of society. The tenderlove of women ahsalways been needed to raise and take care of the children. /

      What bothers me very much and I don't understand, is why are these modern day activists and feminists, trying so hard to push the women of our day to be like men, and the men to be like women. Listen!  We are two different types creatures. Are God-given purposes are different. Respect that!

      • Anonymous says:

        You seriously scare me.

        You exactly confirm the influence of religion to people lack of forming their own opinion.

        If Adam and Eve were really the first people, we would now all be misformed zombies.

        It is just a story, don't believe everything they tell you in church.


        • Anonymous says:

          There is a scientifically proven adam and eve, utilizing dna. From what I have read it originates somewhere in western Africa. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Wisdom comes when one understands how little we actually understand. Ignorance is to think that you have all of the answers, whether christian etc or atheist. The ugliness of intolerance is just as heinous no matter which extreme of the pendulum swing one wishes to hang their their proverbial hat of theoretical or religious leanings. I find you to be butt ugly. Have a nice day.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, you're right — there IS a documented DNA base in Africa.   They were probably an australopithicus afarensis, however and not homo sapiens as you infer.  

            • Anonymous says:

              Ummm…"there are two main theories about the spread of Homo sapiens.

              The first theory, known as the 'Out of Africa' model, is that Homo sapiens developed first in Africa and then spread around the world between 100 and 200,000 years ago, superseding all other hominid species. The implication of this argument is that all modern people are ultimately of African descent".

              "Although the debate is far from concluded, it is probably fair to say that the bulk of scientists support the 'Out of Africa' hypothesis and believe that all humans share a common origin".


      • Judean People's Front says:

        Exactly. One has a womb, otherwise where is the fetus going to gestate, in a box?

      • Big Gay Al says:

        The Easter bunny loves everyone. Men and women.

    • Anonymous says:

      As long you let churches and politics try to tell you difference in man and woman. You would not be the same human been .  I don't know why AIDEN and Tarra  , is on this subject . I don't know why they are not talking about the real problems that Cayman have .

    • Anonymous says:

      It is obvious that you dont read the bible.

      While it is true about the making adam first and then taking eve from his side, there is also words about love of a husband for his wife and much much more.

      Obviously you have an attitude against the church.

      Has the church made mistakes over the years yes.

      Has christians not been representative of what the bible and christianity preachs yes.

      I believe a big problem is that a lot of us thing that when you become a chritian you become kind of a superman/superworman and thats far from the truth. Christians make mistakes a lot of them but hopefully we see our mistakes and try to do better.

      And while you are attcking the church and pointing out the mistakes do try to take some time to see the good that it has done.

    • Anonymous says:

      It depends on which church you are talking about.

      Some, like the Unitarians, include women.

      Some, like the Roman Catholics, exclude them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    A commendable message rendered totally meaningless by too much politically correct BS. Why can't politicians learn that communication involves a lot more than just spouting rhetoric?

    • Anonymous says:

      Someone who does not spout rhetoric could never become a politician.

      • Anonymous says:

        I can think of a few who have but none of them were in the Cayman Islands.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Pointless cut and paste drivel.