Violence against women and girls needs to stop

August 10, 2016
Darien Robertson/Freelance Photographer Dr Michael Abrahams gives an impromptu and powerful spoken word performance at the launch of the HeForShe Campaign, held at Jamaica House, last month.


Listen nuh, as an avowed gender equality advocate, I was very pleased to see the recent launch in Jamaica of the HeForShe Global campaign. HeForShe Global is a solidarity movement for gender equality developed by UN Women to engage men and boys as advocates and agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women's rights.

The campaign encourages men and boys to speak out and take action against inequalities faced by women. And that includes blazing a fire on all forms violence against women and girls. So, I commend the Right Honourable Andrew Holness, as a top man in the country, for localising the campaign for Jamaica, using it as a platform to address ending violence and violence against women and girls, and announcing the launch of a public campaign to tackle the issue. Yeah, I salute you, Mr PM! I stand in maximum respect and solidarity with any man who raises his voice and uses the power of his influence to say, "yo, enough now; end violence! End violence against women!"




But hear mi nuh peeps, I'm also dismayed and disappointed to see that the conversation appears to be shifting. Yeah folks, before you can say bragadaps, a less-than-subtle shift has started that wants to mischievously move the focus from an issue around which we can work together, and move to an issue around which we seem unable to have any kind of dispassionate and productive conversation. But hear the thing, peeps, nuh mek any alarmist confuse unuh. There's no hidden agenda to the HeForShe Jamaica #endVAW campaign. The focus of the campaign is to engage men and boys in ending discrimination against women and girls. The push is for equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for women and men, boys and girls.

HeForShe outlines clearly that gender equality is not an exclusively women's issue. It is an issue that should deeply concern and fully engage men and women. And ending violence against women and girls is one critical aspect in achieving gender equality and ending violence in general. I fully support it. How about you? I think more men need to step up, speak up and get involved. We have to respect and support women and ensure that this land we love is a safe and just space fi everybody.

Violent crimes and violence against women are costly. And it cost di whole a wi! On top of the physical and emotional pain, murders, rapes, assaults and robberies put serious economic costs on the victims who survive and on the families of those who die. Violent crimes also impose a burden of costs on communities through lower property values, higher insurance premiums, and reduced investment in high-crime areas. In addition, violent crimes are costly to taxpayers, who have to bear the financial burden of maintaining the security forces, courts, jails, and prisons directed toward these said crimes and their perpetrators.


Inflammatory issues


When woman suffer, all a wi suffer. So, I find it sad that whenever we in the Caribbean start talking about violence and violence against women in particular or gender equality, the conversation always seem to shift from a focus on women and women's rights to other inflammatory issues that distract and divide us. As for me, I'm not losing focus. I'm an unapologetic HeforShe supporter. Yea, I'm for my wife, my mother, my mother-in-law, my blood sisters and sister-friends, my aunts, my nieces, my granddaughter and goddaughters, and all the women and girls of Jamaica and the world.

I'm a HeForShe because we need to put an end to violence. So tell me man and man, where do you stand?

Other Commentary Stories