Today, November 25th marks the 30th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign to Eliminate Violence against Women. The Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA) joins the worldwide call for governments to take urgent action to ensure discriminatory laws and practices are rejected, and to implement policies and mechanisms to enable women to access justice, support, and the necessary tools to combat this horror that plagues their lives, families and the entire region.
Gender-Based Violence (GBV) remains a horrendous scourge in the Caribbean, a region with a high tolerance for this type of violence, which is rooted in the prevalence of patriarchy and inequalities, legitimized by cultures and religions. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated GBV, especially with lockdown measures and loss of livelihood, leaving women and children even more vulnerable.
A critical shift in approach is urgently needed to address GBV with involvement of men as an important part of the solution. The CFPA is rolling out a Winning Narratives (advocacy) initiative, which aims to enhance critical understanding of, and responses to GBV by focusing on men and boys, who often enter into the narrative of GBV primarily as perpetrators. We believe that men and boys have a positive role to play in ending GBV and transforming oppressive notions of gender that continue to plague our societies.
Across the region, Family Planning Associations are mobilized in communities: providing counselling and psycho-social support to survivors, relationship counselling, sexual and reproductive health services, policy review, peer education with young people, and working on various levels to comprehensively address violence.
Over the next 16 days, CFPA will be embarking on a social media campaign to engage with our online community, raising awareness on violence against migrants, rural and indigenous women, and the LGBT+ community, on the social inequalities that exists as barriers to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and involving men, boys and all stakeholders to work towards the full attainment of the human rights and social protection of our Caribbean people. While these communities are our priority targets, we will not ignore the ugly reality that GBV exists at every level of our social system, regardless of wealth, profession or race.
“We must stand together in ending violence against women and girls. As we engage over the next 16 days in bringing awareness around this issue and to call for action to eliminate all forms of violence against women, let this not be an empty slogan, let us use this as a springboard to highlight the urgent need for changes so that women and girls are respected and are safe.” Dr Rosmond Adams, CFPA President.
Ending gender-based violence and reproductive injustices are key steps in transforming the lives of women, men, and society.
Let us “Orange the world”, and end violence against women and children NOW!