KINGSTON, November 26, 2018 (JIS):
State Minister in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Alando Terrelonge is appealing for Jamaicans to join the Government in ending violence against women and girls.
He noted that the Administration is working to address the scourge through legislative, policy and programmatic actions that protect victims of violence, punish perpetrators and ensure that the victims get redress.
He urged citizens “not to turn a blind eye” to such acts, noting that reports of “brutal attacks against women over the last year should concern each of us to do something about it…I am extending an invitation to you to join us.”
Mr. Terrelonge was representing Portfolio Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, at a service, to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW), held at the Pentecostal Sanctuary, Upper Waterloo Road, St. Andrew, on Sunday (November 25).
Citing findings from the 2016 Women’s Health Survey, done by United Nations (UN) Women, he said that one in every four women in Jamaica has been either slapped, beaten with fists, pushed, kicked, attacked or threatened with a weapon by her male partner.
He said the survey also revealed that a quarter of women in Jamaica have been sexually abused by men, who are not their intimate partner and that the majority of the abusers were friends or acquaintances.
“One out of every five women reported being sexually abused before reaching 18 years old and the person who did it was a family member or friend,” he pointed out.
State Minister Terrelonge said it is not the intent of God that “women should be inferior to men and that women should be subjugated to men and that men must be at the right and liberty to punish their women”.
“Men and women must be treated as equals and as partners within the home,” he argued.
Describing perpetrators of violence against women as “cowards,” he said that abuse is not an expression of love.
“Violence against women does not show that you are a man, in fact, it proves that you are not a man,” Mr. Terrelonge added.
In his message, Pastor of the Pentecostal Sanctuary, Bishop Robert Ellis, said that Jamaicans need to get back to “good wholesome family life if the country is going to get back to good wholesome values.”
He noted that the family is “critically important” for social change to take place.
“It is the smallest unit of the society and when that unit of the family becomes disintegrated and disruptive, you’re going to have chaos in the society,” he said, adding that the family influences the lives of individuals and “is the wheel that forms our character.”
The observance of IDEVAW raises public awareness of violence against women. It has been observed on November 25 each year since 2000.