KINGSTON, Jamaica— Below is part of the statement by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, to the Houses of Parliament yesterday, to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW), observed today.
Yesterday we got up to the very sad news of the horrific killing of a grandmother and her two granddaughters in Tryall Heights in Spanish Town, St Catherine.
As a St Catherine Member of Parliament, as a minister, as a mother, as a grandmother, as a woman, as a citizen, I feel the pain of this vile act to my core.
Madam Speaker, there can be no excuse for this wickedness. We condemn it in the strongest sense. We commiserate with and send our condolences to the family. And we urge the community, anyone with information please say something and let us have justice for Iciline McFarlane, Christina McFarlane and Mishane McFarlane.
I've asked the Bureau of Gender Affairs to visit the community and to work with other public and private sector entities to provide support to members of the family and to the community at large.
This House has joined me several times in the past in condemning violent attacks against our women and children. And in the last Parliament we tabled the Report of the Joint Select Committee that reviewed the Sexual Offences Act, Offences Against the Person Act, the Domestic Violence Act, and the Child Care and Protection Act.
This crime highlights the need for us to move quickly along the process towards implementing the recommendations and amending the laws to give greater protection to our people, to serve as a deterrent and to eliminate the violence.
Madam Speaker, as fate would have it, [today] we join the rest of the world in commemorating IDEVAW and the 16 Days of Activism towards ending the violence. It is the kind of violence that was perpetrated against Miss Icy and her granddaughters that we are committed to ending.
Madam Speaker, as a country we feel distressed and we sometimes despair when we hear of these brutal acts of violence. But we mustn't retreat and we cannot give in to the gunmen. This is when we must fight back stronger than ever before! We cannot surrender Jamaica and we must develop a steely determination that we will end the violence; knowing that it takes all of us to end the violence; and that the violence is not an inevitable part of life.
It can end. It must end. It will end. We must renew our commitment to ending domestic abuse. We must commit to stop using violence as a way to discipline our children. It's time we decide as a nation that we will stop the beating. We must end all acts of violence and abuse in our homes, in our communities and in our country.
Madam Speaker, I wish to commend the countless women, organisations and churches who have over the years provided refuge for women and children in their time of need. Thank you for all you continue to do to save and improve lives.
We know that several women stay in abusive relationships because they are financially dependent on the man. That is why we have made women's economic independence a priority programme. Through this programme, we want to equip them with the skills and other resources to run successful businesses.
In this regard, we will use the commemoration of IDEVAW to discuss and support women's economic independence. Our local theme for the commemoration is 'The Empowered Woman: From Victim to Survivor'. It reflects our commitment to improve support to victims of gender-based violence towards their social and economic development.
Madam Speaker, we are also shining a light on domestic violence. We want to get people talking about and taking action to end the violence.
We have to move the issue of domestic violence from something people say in hushed tones, to the front pages. And that is why we will be moving into phase two of our multi-media campaign “No Excuse for Abuse” with stronger, in your face messaging designed to get people to stop turning a blind eye to the domestic violence that they know is happening next door and to do something to end it.
In this, our men will be key allies — beginning with the men in this House. Men must take a stand against domestic violence. They must intervene, say something, do something to their friend who is abusing his wife or girlfriend. And I ask the men of this House to demonstrate their commitment to ending the violence by wearing a purple ribbon… for the 16 days of activism until December 10.