“Silence hides violence, speak out!”
This sentiment was reinforced recently by First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, as she urged the youths of Number Sixty-Eight Village, East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six) to reset their mind-sets and to speak out against social ills, such as bullying and domestic abuse, to help create a more compassionate society.
The First Lady made this call in her address at the Roadside Baptist Skills Training Centre Inc rally to raise awareness about the prevalence of gender-based violence and suicide.
Mrs. Granger is fearful that violence has become so ingrained in the nation’s psyche that persons have become indifferent to it, while others no longer seem to know how to respond to it.
She believes that this problem, is due partly to a certain mind-set in Guyana, and in some other countries, where a woman’s value is determined by her occupation and not by her “personhood.”
“Is a woman who is not working for a salary less than a woman who is earning? We have to value the contributions of the women who stay at home and take care of the children… I want you to recognise that every life has value; that every person, male or female is contributing something to this society.”
Mrs. Granger further highlighted that ”it is hoped that the world will reach gender parity by 2030, but something that bothers me a lot is how do we get there? These things cannot happen unless we ourselves change our behaviours. Too often we have become inured to violence.”
She called for a halt to discrimination or violence meted out to the vulnerable persons in society, such as the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBTs), the differently abled and the old.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Protection, Ms. Laurene Baird and Chargé d’Affaires of the United States Embassy in Guyana, Mr. Bryan Hunt, also praised the initiative.
Ms. Baird also pointed out that while Government is cognisant of these issues, and are taking steps to remedy them, it is initiatives such as these that help to achieve those goals.