WROC Calls for Comprehensive Strategy to Address Violence Against Women and Girls

Here is today’s press release from the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC), a member organization of the 51% Coalition.

Women's Resource & Outreach Centre logo

The Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC) shares the justifiable outrage of all well-thinking Jamaican citizens at the spate of killings of women, which has been taking place in our nation. We share the view that the situation is linked to a number of factors, among them that :

  1. too many men and women are engulfed in historically rooted patterns of violence, poverty and underdevelopment and have not been afforded, across generations, to lift themselves into leading productive and rewarding lives ;
  2. the system of patriarchy continues to socialize men into a false belief that they have the right to control women, even by the most violent means. Consequently, gender based violence including rape, intimate partner violence (or domestic violence), sexual harassment and incest, committed mainly against women and girls, seems almost ‘normal’ in some communities.
  3. measures that have been taken to address gender based violence in the society from the policy to the operational level of the police force have generally been ineffective. For example, every time, when the occasion seems befitting, promises are repeated that the National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender-based Violence “soon come. The latest promise was just a few weeks ago.

At the operational level, citizens continue to complain of inadequate responses by the security forces to complaints that are lodged at the station. Added to this is the general fear that grips many due to the continuing high levels of violence in the society.

Our experience points to the fact that a comprehensive response is needed; one involving the state, civil society and the private sector to implement the many measures put forward, including those issued in the Call to Action by the Economic Growth Council. Yet, as a society we must go further and WROC specifically proposes the following:

  1. that once complaints are lodged with the Police about cases of domestic violence, the State becomes the injured party to ensure that complainants do not subsequently drop the cases as so often happens;
  2. this should increase the confidence of members of the public that cases of domestic and gender based violence affecting women and girls in particular, but also men, will be treated with greater sensitivity and professionalism by female police personnel;
  3. that the necessary steps be taken to immediately begin the implementation of the National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender Based Violence.
  4. that the proposed measures (1 – 3) be integrated into the measures and targets to be monitored within the context of the Partnership for a Prosperous Jamaica and the work of the Economic Growth Council.

For further information please contact:

Nikeisha Sewell Lewis

Nikeisha.sewell@gmail.com

(876) 861 3986; 929-8873

In memory of these women who have been killed in the past two weeks, four of them by partners or former partners.

"Kerry-Ann Wilson would have celebrated her daughter’s seventh birthday yesterday. Instead, her partially clothed decomposing body was found wrapped in tarpaulin, stuck under the rail of the walkway at Crystal Towers Apartments on Old Hope Road in St Andrew." Her ex-boyfriend subsequently turned himself in and has been charged with Kerry-Ann's murder. Kerry-Ann was pregnant. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)
December 10: “Kerry-Ann Wilson would have celebrated her daughter’s seventh birthday yesterday. Instead, her partially clothed decomposing body was found wrapped in tarpaulin, stuck under the rail of the walkway at Crystal Towers Apartments on Old Hope Road in St Andrew.” Her ex-boyfriend subsequently turned himself in and has been charged with Kerry-Ann’s murder. The 31-year-old was pregnant. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)
The crime scene in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, where Alicia Garey (inset), age 20, was stabbed to death by her boyfriend during an argument at lunchtime outside a supermarket. (Photo: Loop Jamaica)
December 14: The crime scene in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, where Alicia Garey (inset), age 20, was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend during an argument at lunchtime outside a supermarket. The police say she had lodged a complaint about the man and had “warned” him.     (Photo: Loop Jamaica)

 

December 14: 43 year-old Margaretta Service was at home with relatives in Barrett Town, St. James in the afternoon when gunmen kicked down the door, shot her dead and set her ablaze. Another woman was injured and is in hospital in serious condition.

November 27: "She has been there for me since I was a baby…I can't eat, I can't sleep," says the grandson of Jeneta Gordon (Miss Jenny), who was raped and murdered by a man who climbed in her bedroom window in Bell Rock, St. Catherine. She was 84 years old.
November 27: “She has been there for me since I was a baby…I can’t eat, I can’t sleep,” says the grandson of Jeneta Gordon (Miss Jenny), who was raped and murdered by two men who reportedly climbed in her bedroom window in Bell Rock, St. Catherine. She was 84 years old. (Photo: Jamaica Star)
December 11: 18 year-old Chantae Thelwell was stabbed to death by a boyfriend during a heated argument at her home in Sandy Bay, Hanover.
December 11: 18 year-old Chantae Thelwell was stabbed to death by a boyfriend during a heated argument at her home in Sandy Bay, Hanover. (Photo: Loop Jamaica)

November 25: Alexia Brown, 20, was shot dead in Porto Bello, St. James, with her baby daughter in her arms. She was a witness to a murder, but had reportedly refused witness protection. The 5 month-old girl later died in hospital. Ms. Brown also had a four year-old child.

December 6: Dawn Loney, 53, was beaten to death by a man who broke into her home in Chantilly Gardens, Westmoreland.

December 7: The common-law husband of Hermalyn Bell, 45, killed her with a machete at their home in Point Hill, St. Catherine, reportedly in a jealous rage. He was taken into custody later.

December 15: Joycelyn Gomez, 71, was attacked and killed by a machete-wielding man who was reportedly mentally ill, while going to collect her pension at Falmouth Post Office.

December 5: 31 year-old businesswoman Chrissy Vaughan was shot in the head as she was driving away from a party in her Bogue Village neighborhood in Montego Bay. An argument had broken out at the party and someone fired shots.
December 5: 31 year-old businesswoman Chrissy Vaughan was shot in the head as she was driving away from a party in her Bogue Village neighborhood in Montego Bay. An argument had broken out at the party and someone fired shots.
December 2: Lina Powell died in a fire in Craig Head, Manchester along with her daughter Lisette and son Delroy, after shots were heard. The police are investigating a case of arson.
December 2: Lina Powell (73) died in a fire in Craig Head, Manchester along with her daughter Lissette (44) and son Delroy, after shots were heard. The police are investigating a case of arson. (Photo: Jamaica Star)

 

 

 


7 thoughts on “WROC Calls for Comprehensive Strategy to Address Violence Against Women and Girls

  1. Many many thanks to WROC for their powerful comprehensive statement which I endorse completely. I call on all MPs and Senators to demonstrate that they are serious about dealing with this epidemic of violence against women and girls, by considering each of the recommendations made, and by sharing with the public what concrete actions will be taken to address this national problem. While the Joint Select Committee of Parliament does have urgent work to do, there are some actions that can be taken in the mean time. Judith

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  2. Our country is overcome with grief. This is now a daily pattern.. at least one female per day. Yes it is critical to urgently put legislaton in place. But something has to be done to change the thoughts and attitudes of our brothers and sisters. Govt needs to make it compulsory for family life education to be taught in schools. Govt needs to use NHT funds, collaborate with Food for the Poor and move people out of squatter housing . We need more skills training programmes so that unoccupied youth can be gainfully engaged. These are measures that can build self worth and reduce animosity. When a man feels good about himself he is less likely to commit murder.

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    1. Dear Dorothy: I agree – it is certainly not just about legislation although that helps. We need action on so many levels, and not only by Government – community, government agencies and all in a collaborative effort. The undercurrent of anger and frustration is real and must be addressed in a structured but multi-layered way. We need to stop talking – we know what the problems are. As Eve for Life is doing, we now need to go out into communities to hear people’s voices at all levels of society (not just the “talking heads.”)

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