IN response to the spate of heinous acts of violence committed against women and girls in Jamaica, and research concluding that one in four Jamaican women have experienced gender-based violence (GBV), the country is being urged to wear black on Thursday, May 13 in a silent protest against gender-based violence in Jamaica.
The islandwide one-day campaign is being coordinated by the Institute for Gender and Development Studies - Regional Coordinating Office (IGDS - RCO) and the Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC).
“The primary objective of this campaign is to educate, inform and get the people of the island to understand that we must work together to end gender-based violence and urge our Government, that has signed on to the United Nations Sustainable Goals Agenda 2030, to amend all laws governing violence against women and girls, and family violence, before the end of 2021,” the IGDS-RCO said in a statement. “Together we can peacefully make our society safe for women and girls, and for all.”
On that day, from 9:00 am to midday, Jamaicans who oppose violence against women and girls are being asked to peacefully stand vigilant in front of parish council offices, courthouses and churches in all 14 parishes, bearing placards, while respecting COVID-19 protocols.
“On this day, we are also asking all motorists —public and private— to turn on their headlights to let perpetrators of GBV know that their actions will no longer be tolerated. We encourage every citizen of Jamaica on Thursday, May 13 to wear black as a mark of solidarity with anyone who has been a victim of gender-based violence,” said Dr Imani Tafari-Ama, the project manager on the Jamaica Spotlight Country Project, the EU and UN-funded Spotlight Initiative programme in Jamaica.
President of the JCC, Reverend Newton Dixon of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, will urge all JCC member churches to prepare sermons decrying GBV on Sunday, May 9, 2021.
The Thursday in Black Campaign to End GBV with Headlights occurs within the week in which the United Nations honours peace and the family; the International Day of Families on Saturday, May 15; and International Day of Living Together in Peace, Sunday, May 16.