Clarendon councillors add voices to campaign against gender violenceThursday, May 13, 2021
CLARENDON, Jamaica — Councillors at the Clarendon Municipal Corporation have added their voices to the 'Thursday in Black' campaign, which seeks to end gender-based violence in Jamaica.
People's National Party (PNP) Minority leader and Councillor for the Hayes Division, Scean Barnswell said it is time for the local authority to lobby the government to seek legislative changes to protect women. He encouraged Mayor Winston Maragh, who is also the president of the Association of Local Government Authorities of Jamaica (ALGAL), to use his office to send a clear and straight message to ask for changes in the legislation to protect our women and children who are very vulnerable.
“I believe the police also have a role to play in all of this. When the women turn up at a police station to make a report the police should follow-up, follow-through and ensure that person seeks medical attention and also follow through on the case. Just saying that the person didn't come back to give a statement means the case done, it cannot be like that because the perpetrator could be out there waiting on that woman and so out of fear she refuse to continue the case,” he argued.
However, Jamaica Labour Party Councillor Hershell Brown, said it was not so much about legislative changes but lifestyle changes that are needed to bring about a change in behaviour as everyone has a duty to start causing that lifestyle change by doing the right thing and leading by example.
Councillor for the Toll Gate Division Radcliffe McDonald also explained that some women who report incidents either don't turn up for court or beg for their abuser and eventually cause the men to walk free. “When the ladies start to take a stand the men will back off but they think they can get away with it so they continue with it because they know they sweet up the women with money and get another chance.”
Meanwhile, three women who identified themselves as a being a part of PNP's Women's Movement, stood outside the Clarendon Municipal Corporation office today as part of the Thursday in Black Campaign to end gender-based violence against women.
One of the women, Charmaine Wilson said its time for the lawmakers to get serious about the crime that is happening in the country against women and girls. Our women are being battered, beaten and killed on a daily basis and it seemed it has become the norm and there seem to be no outcry. I see it fit as a woman to join this campaign because I'm seeing the black eyes, I'm seeing the little girls in pain so as a woman I am adding my voice to this campaign” she said noting that because of fear some women refuse to speak out or because the men are the main breadwinners.
Sherlene McNeil who was also a part of the campaign, said oftentimes it is when the police hear that a person dies action is being taken. “There should be greater avenues to ensure the women who are abused know they can get assistance. While I don't think standing in front of government buildings for one day will make a change, persons will see that we are saying enough is enough even if we have to come back another day, but at least we are starting to take a stand” she explained.
The other participant, Marshalee Hines, said she is speaking up for persons who don't have a voice, especially the children who are not in school. “The only safety they have is when they are at school so now they are home 24/7 with their abusers and we have to do something about that. The best way to make something stick is to show them a picture so today we are here and hope persons will take note. It is not good when a nation starts to kill and destroy the very persons who are supposed to build the society” she said.
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