Black Immigrant Daily News
Premier Wayne Panton has said that the truth about how women are treated in the home and the wider society must be confronted for there to be change for the better.
The premier’s charge came in a release marking the start of 16 Days of Activism on 25 November, which is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It ends on ends on 10 December, which is Human Rights Day.
“For 16 days, we — as individuals, families, and a community — are being challenged to confront some uncomfortable truths about what is taking place within our homes, our institutions, and our nation. Truths that we must confront if there is to be a change for the better,” Panton said in his statement.
Since 1991, the world has marked ’16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence’ as a concerted effort to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
Gender-Based Violence (GBV) — sometimes also referred to as Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) — is any act of sexual, physical, psychological, mental, economic or emotional abuse that is perpetrated against a person’s will, and based solely on socially ascribed (i.e. gender) differences between males and females.
“Under this umbrella, domestic violence remains a serious issue which warrants attention and resources, but it is also vital that we recognise other forms of abuse happening within our society; many acts which are perpetuated by being classified as ‘taboo’, or something we do not discuss or acknowledge,” Panton said.
The premier added: “By now, many have heard the global statistics on how gender-based violence impacts as many as 1 in 3 women — a figure that has remained largely unchanged for the last decade. Global statistics also estimate that a woman or girl is killed by someone in their family every 11 minutes.
“Whilst women and girls are disproportionately affected, men, boys, and the LGBTQ+ community can also be targets of GBV, resulting from the perceived power imbalances within the norms of masculinity and femininity. Global statistics indicate that 1 in 7 men are affected by GBV.
“Indeed, global statistics have their purpose, but far too often we look to these as a reason to pat ourselves on the back, because things here at home aren’t ‘as bad’ as other places; forgetting that we have our own challenges, inequalities and violence with which to contend.”
Panton noted that several local entities have done “incredible work over the years to raise awareness and educate our community” on the impacts of gender-based violence. He highlighted that The Family Resource Centre (formerly the Women’s Resource Centre), along with the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, the Gender Affairs Unit, and the Alliance to End Domestic Violence, have been leaders in addressing domestic violence in our community.
He said: “Similarly, civic groups and organisations such as Gender Equality Cayman, the Business and Professional Women’s Club, and the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens, are to be commended for the work they do to protect the rights of women and other vulnerable groups. All of these entities work together to provide assistance and support services to survivors and their families, and mechanisms to ensure violent perpetrators are held accountable.
“Ending violence against women is everyone’s business, and I encourage every one of us to learn more about the ways that we can each make a difference in our community.”