Friday 10 July, 2020

UWI condemns violence against women, calls for action

Activists are urgently calling for action dealing with intimate partner violence after four women were killed in suspected domestic violence incidents within the last 10 days. 

According to a statement from the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI), the killings are a 'clear expression of gender socialisation that produces widespread normalisation of male violence'.

The Institute is calling for urgent action to implement support and response strategies for victims of domestic violence. 

"The killing of women must stop. The Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), The University of the West Indies, St Augustine calls attention to and condemns the continued killing of women by men."

"Nine days into the new decade, four women have been killed brutally by male suspects believed to be known to them. News reports suggest persistent cases of Intimate Partner Violence."

The Institute referred to a 2018 study which found that one in three women in Trinidad and Tobago said they experienced intimate partner violence.

"These numbers suggest that the problem of male violence against women is widespread, affecting more than 10,000 women every year. Which one of these women will be the next to die while we fail to do enough? Do women’s lives matter so little?"

The Institute said there is an absence of a strategy.

"The Institute continues to be astounded at the absence of a clear and cohesive state strategy to prevent such violence, often committed in retaliation to a woman’s decision to leave dysfunctional relationships. It calls relevant state authorities to incorporate civil society and corporate partners committed to preventing and responding to male violence against women."

"These murders are a clear expression of gender socialization that produces widespread normalisation of male violence and a long-standing problem of premeditated and sustained domestic terrorism against women."

"We call on state authorities to show that preventing the killing of women takes priority by implementing effective prevention and response strategies with immediate effect, rather than reasserting promises to “investigate” or uttering euphemistic platitudes that identify the problem as general family violence, mental illness, or poor choices by women," the Institute said. 

Within recent weeks, several women were killed in incidents which are thought to be domestic in nature. Gabrielle Dubarry was shot and killed at her parents' home in Avocat on January 9, 2020, while schoolteacher Jezelle Phillip was stabbed and killed at her George Street school in Port of Spain, in view of students.

Investigations into both incidents are continuing. 

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