Here is today’s press release from the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC), a member organization of the 51% Coalition.
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 :
- 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 ;
- 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.
- 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:
- 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;
- 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;
- that the necessary steps be taken to immediately begin the implementation of the National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender Based Violence.
- 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
(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.
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 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.