–55% of women have experienced some form of abuse
MINISTER of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud has revealed that a 914 helpline will be introduced by the Ministry to facilitate the reporting of domestic and sexual violence.
“I cannot over-emphasise how important it is to report every incidence of violence to stem the relentless tide,” the minister was quoted as saying in a press release from the Ministry.
The introduction of the three -digit emergency number, Minister Persaud said, will open access to new initiatives that link survivors to agencies, advocacy programmes, referral pathways, micro-enterprise industries, and public-private skills employment database, matching and offering immediate help “to extrapolate them from violent situations”.
“It is perhaps the most obvious manifestation of deep imbalances of power in our society. The vulnerabilities epitomised through financial dependence, lower employment, the culture of silence in the face of violence, and tangible insecurities; particularly during a crisis, when vulnerabilities are at their peak, and protections at their lowest point will be addressed through the Spotlight Initiative,” she noted.
Against the foregoing backdrop, the Human Services Minister underscored the importance of ending the culture of silence, and the acceptance of violence against women and girls wherever it exists.
“Violence, whether it affects women and girls, or men and boys, is unacceptable. This is our chance to tangibly change the lives of women and girls, as we promised at the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 25 years ago,” Minster Persaud further stated.
Here in Guyana, over 210,000, or three out of every five women have experienced some form of violence, either sexually or physically, the Minister revealed during the virtual launch of the ‘Spotlight Initiative’ on Saturday.
The United Nations/European Union funded initiative, which is intended to help over 600,000 women, girls, men and boys, will assist the ministry in responding and addressing the scourge of all forms of violence against women and girls.
A budgetary allocation of 4.5 million Euros will be used to invest in strategic and catalytic interventions to address the root causes of, and holistically address gender-based violence and family violence over a three-year period.
“We need to ask ourselves why violence continues to be pervasive and persistent. The heartrending cries of women who are beaten, chopped, stabbed, raped, brutalised and, yes, killed in this most horrific form of gender oppression has propelled us to embark on a pivotal partnership with the UN and EU to significantly improve the conditions of women, foster their empowerment, and work to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence,” Minister Persaud said in her message.
The Country Document, which signals the commitment of the ‘Spotlight Initiative’, was signed by Minister Persaud and UN Resident Coordinator to Guyana, Mikiko Tanaka. The signing was witnessed by EU Ambassador to Guyana, Fernando Ponz Canto.