We have to continue speaking out on issues that concern us. A lot of these issues get forgotten about when they are no longer headline news – but it really needs to be a continuous reminder of what’s wrong in our society (whether people want to hear it or not). Advocacy must be consistent, and persistent!
So the Institute for Gender & Development Studies – Regional Coordinating Office (IGDS-RCO) at the University of the West Indies is requesting Jamaicans’ support and participation in their upcoming Thursday in Black Campaign to End gender-based violence (GBV). If you are on social media, do post and tag people and organizations, and spread the word.
This is an islandwide one-day campaign against violence against women and girls (VAWG), which came about in response to the recent incidents of femicide and other types of GBV directed at women and girls across Jamaica. The IGDS-RCO is working on it alongside the Jamaica Council of Churches and the Nurses Association of Jamaica. The Jamaica Psychiatric Association has come on board as a new partner – headed by Senator Dr. Saphire Longmore.
This coming Thursday, July 29, 2021, the campaign will be speaking out specifically against abuse and violence against children under the theme: “No More Silent Cries.”
You can participate by:
1. Spreading this message with your networks and circles so that they can be informed and also get involved.
2. Wearing black and encouraging others to wear black on Thursday as a mark of solidarity with all children and anyone who has been a victim of gender-based violence.
3. Organising a group (or groups) of 10 or less persons to peacefully stand vigilant in front of Parish Council offices, courthouses and churches in your parishes, bearing placards on Thursday coming, between 9am and midday.
Given the COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, the group must be 10 or less persons. If there are more, persons can be rotated in groups of 10.
4. Joining the peaceful protests planned in Kingston at one of two locations: (a) in front of Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Office or (b) Mandela Park in Half Way Tree between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon.
5. All motorists —public and private— are being asked to turn on their headlights to let perpetrators of child abuse and gender-based violence know that their actions will no longer be tolerated.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have expressed concern that children now face greater risk of all forms of abuse, including sexual violence, as they spend less supervised or structured time at home, in the community or in the care of adults due to COVID-19.
Some psychologists assess that the exposure to violence is impacting the mental health of the nation. In 2016, for example, over 3,000 children and adolescents were treated for attempted suicide at public health clinics, and 42 per cent of those recorded in hospitals for attempting suicide, were children. Additionally, 80 per cent of Jamaican children experience some form of psychological or physical violence administered as discipline; 65 per cent of students are bullied at school; and 79 per cent of children witness violence in their community or at home.
A recent Study of Children Living and Working on the Streets in Jamaica conducted by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) has documented that many “children on Jamaica’s streets are involved in risky sexual practices as they seek to ‘hustle’ in response to poverty, parental neglect, perceptions of parental responsibility, and other factors.” The study that was conducted across nine parishes, with 373 respondents, highlights several instances where older men come to certain areas to pick up young boys for sex. Another pattern was that “of inter-generational prostitution in communities where prostitution is common among older women as well as children as young as 10 years.” This is the reality for many of our children whom we must save.
The primary objective of this campaign is to educate, inform and get the people of the island to understand that Jamaicans must work together to end GBV and urge our government, which has signed on to the United Nations Sustainable Goals (SDGs) Agenda 2030, to amend all laws governing violence against women and girls and family violence, before the end of 2021.
Together we can peacefully make our society safe for all.
Together we must end violence in Jamaica!
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken people!
Pictures can be posted to your individual organisation’s or personal social media pages, tagging the lGDS-RCO, Jamaica Council of Churches, Nurses Association of Jamaica, and Jamaica Psychiatric Association, using the hashtag #ThursdaylnBlackIGDS #EndGBVIGDS #NoMoreSilentCriesIGDS.
Please direct all queries to:
National Campaign Manager