Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Speak out!

The time has come for Caribbean women to let their voices be heard louder on the issue of violence against women.

President of the Barbados Senate, Senator Kerryann Ifill, made the call while delivering the feature address at the installation and closing ceremony of the 22nd Biennial Conference of the Caribbean Association of Women (CARIWA), in Barbados recently. Her comments came as she lamented the increasing instances of violence against women across the region, and in particular in Barbados over the last year.

President of the Barbados Senate, Senator Kerryann Ifill,
delivering an address at the 22nd Biennial Conference of CARIWA.
“We need to find a method, a means to change the course that these men in the Caribbean are going down and some of our sisters, who believe erroneously that this is the way we have to live – it has been so and it will remain so. But it does not have to be so,” she contended.

She added, “It breaks my heart as it does yours, when I pick up the paper and read about another woman who has been found dead. Then you hear it is some man that did this to her because she said no; or she ended a relationship; or he thought she looked at another man a funny way; or he constructed a relationship in his head.”

Senator Ifill contended that no matter what excuse is given for the man’s actions, a woman’s life is ended, her children’s lives devastated, and her family will never recovery.

She said the problem is not unique to Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad or Antigua, it is a Caribbean wide problem ,and for that reason, she noted it is important that organisations like CARIWA continue to work in spite of the challenges that the member organisations face in their various territories.

“I recognise that this time your concentration was on disaster preparedness. As West Indian women, we know that we live constantly recognising the vulnerabilities of our territories. But one of the disasters we live with is the cruelty against our women. We have to be prepared to cope with and to deal with this situation,” she maintained.

With that in mind, she urged the CARIWA members present to be prepared to return to their countries and recommit to strengthening Caribbean women, so as to ensure that in the future, CARIWA and similar organisations will be able to thrive on the backs of strong Caribbean women.

“We are facing difficult times, we are facing challenging times, but these challenges may change. The ones we are living with today may not be there tomorrow, but new challenges will arise. Let us recommit ourselves to being strong and to continuing to strengthen those with whom we live, that we can encourage a more productive and stronger Caribbean region.” (JRT)

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