Wednesday, 16 April 2014

‘One in three women will experience violence’

It is predicted that one in three women in the Caribbean will fall victim to some form of domestic or partner based violence.

This was revealed by UN Women Representative, Christine Arab, who delivered remarks recently at the Opening Ceremony of the Expert Group Meeting on Piloting Prevalence Surveys on Gender-Based Violence in the Caribbean at the Radisson Aquatica Resort.

UN Women Representative, Christine Arab.
She said that this information can only be estimated because in spite of efforts by various groups to get statistics and the fact that this form of violence is one of the most prevalent, the evidence is mainly circumstantial with regards to the exact incidence of gender based violence, including that violence directed towards women, which unfortunately creates issues when developing preventative and other measures to tackle this issue.

“Despite notable efforts by authorities, service providers and academia to record and track the incidence of gender-based violence (GBV) in the Caribbean, lack of comprehensive, systematic, nationally-owned data remains a serious bottleneck in responding to and preventing GBV, including its most prevalent form – that of violence against women,” she said.

From the information provided by National studies from Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, British Virgin Islands, Suriname and Latin America and Caribbean Regional Strategy on Women’s Access to Justice 2011-2015, it is believed that 20 per cent or more Caribbean women will experience violence in their intimate relationships while there would also be an increase in various forms of cruelty towards women and girls.

“Available national studies suggest that between 20-69 per cent of women in intimate relationships have experienced violence. In addition to the quantitative increases in rates of violence against women and girls in the region, there has also been a higher incidence of cruelty in violence against women such as strangulation, dismemberment, a larger number of under-aged victims and high rates of kidnapping and rape.”

Furthermore, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Crime Trends Survey (CTS) estimates that 30 per cent of the recorded rape cases across the globe would take place in this region. “According to the latest available data from the UNODC’s Crime Trends Survey (CTS), three of the top ten recorded rape rates in the world occur in the Caribbean.”

Arab said that for those islands which provide comparable statistics, it is quite high and there are also those cases which no-one knows about.

“All countries in the Caribbean for which comparable data are available, experienced a rate of rape above the unweighted average of the 102 countries assessed. The high incidence of sexual violence in some Caribbean countries is of particular concern as most incidents of rape and child sexual abuse remain unreported.”

Meanwhile, the UNODC March 2007 report indicates that “48 per cent of adolescent girls reported that sexual initiation was ‘forced’ or ‘somewhat forced’ in nine Caribbean countries”.

She said that this data was gathered from media reports of serious injuries and deaths, and the Walking the Walls Facebook page, which do not even begin to capture the extent of this form of violence since many cases go unreported. (PJT)

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