More support for survivors, increased reporting expected through 16 days of activism
With a relatively high number of domestic violence cases locally, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security is hoping to raise awareness and make persons more conscientious about reporting Gender-Based Violence and supporting victims of domestic violence.
The Ministry is hoping to achieve this through its 16 days of activism against to be launched on November 25, 2022 under the theme “UNiTE! Activism to end violence against women and girls”.
During an exclusive interview with the News Room on Thursday, subject Minister Dr. Vindhya Persaud said that it is time people become more conscientious when it comes to reporting cases of abuse. She also underscored that they need to offer more support.
“Many times you will read that people were aware of the instances of abuse and violence before it ends up becoming a fatality so we need to stop waiting for it to get there,” she said.
Dr. Persaud stressed that there is a need for a shift in attitude and culture as well as for a more proactive movement toward reporting, support, and intervention.
“For example, in a family structure, people may be aware of it but they feel that maybe somebody will be stigmatised, ostracised but at the end of the day it comes down to life and it comes down to the quality of life.
“The intention with all that we are doing is to make sure people understand that they have a responsibility, not to turn away from it or dismiss it, it’s to be very actively involved,” the minister said.
She highlighted that the government is not calling on persons to assume the role of the Police but to utilise systems that already exist to get help for persons who may be suffering from domestic violence.
“I want people to use these 16 days to understand the newer systems, the newer support mechanism and the newer avenues that are available for us all to curb this escalation of domestic violence that we are seeing,” she said.
Dr. Persaud continued to bemoan the frequency of domestic violence occurrences and underscored that everyone must play their part to support survivors of domestic violence.
“People need to start to support persons experiencing violence, too often women will stay in a situation because there’s no family support – not because they don’t have a family but because they don’t have support,” she said.
There will also be a focus on relationships, including what constitutes toxic relationships and how to recognise red flags that exist before things get out of hand.
She noted that the Ministry provides shelter, survival kits, free training from the Women’s Innovation and Investment Network (WIIN) to be financially independent.
Dr. Persaud urged persons to be actively involved in all of the activities during the 16 days of activism and to be collectively involved to make a tangible impact.
There are a number of events planned for each day to foster inclusion and conversation including a ‘Men and Women Talk Yuh, Unite and Act Against Domestic Violence’ walk in the National Park, Georgetown on November 26 at 07:30hrs.
There are also events for youths and elderly such as the ‘YOUnited: Youths Unite to Elminate Domestic Violence’ on December 4 at 16:30hrs at Camp Street, Georgetownand the ‘GBV & the elderly abuse’.
There is also the ‘CAN Training for LGBTQI+ community’ for persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer on December 5, 2022. There will also be the ‘Invincible Games’ for Persons with Disabilities on December 3. 2022.
One of the premier events, ‘DefendHer,’ will take place on December 4 at the Police Officers’ Mess, Eve Leary where the Ministry has collaborated with MAXIDO adult self- defense training to provide a free and open seminar to women 16 years and older to learn several techniques to defend themselves.
The Ministry will also be hosting a number of consultations including consultations on the Family Violence Bill and engagements on Guyana’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) report.