Concerned Dominicans took to the streets in a ‘Silent Protest’ on Friday in an effort to continue raising awareness as it relates to Gender-Based Violence.
The activity, organized by the Bureau of Gender Affairs, took place on the E.C Loblack Bridge.
For two hours members of the NGO Coalition, students of the Seventh Days Adventist Primary School, Goodwill Primary, Goodwill Secondary, and other members of the public, in an attempt to get their message across, displayed posters with words such as “Intimate partner homicide should not be tolerated!”, “Chop off their raping tool!”, “Stop the violence against women and children!”, “Break the silence, end child abuse in all forms!” and “Castration is needed!”
“What is happening there with gender based violence for the second year they have decided to do a silent protest , so I am giving my full support for sure because I have been working with the children, working with parents and I am seeing what is happening in different communities, I am here to lend my support,” Director of the Love one Teach one Foundation Inc, Gloria Walsh told Dominica News Online (DNO).
She said she is satisfied with the support that the event received.
“I always say even if it is one person it can make a difference, but I think the message will go out for sure,” Walsh stated.
Walsh revealed that over the years she has noticed violence between children occurring in different communities.
“What I have been seeing between the children…I am seeing a lot of violence occurring in different communities. For instance, see what happened at Stockfarm with the young girl…it is a sad situation, and not only the mother died but right now we have a child in question who is left alone without parents,” she remarked.
“I think we need to step up in terms of rallying people and get the legislation on the books and it is something the NGO Coalition has been working on. As of next week, we will be having another Town Hall Meeting addressing sexual child abuse in Marigot,” Walsh added.
Chairperson of the Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) Coalition, Delroy Williams told DNO the NGO Coalition is very supportive of initiatives like the ‘Silent Protest’.
“As an NGO community we have to support all initiatives that relate to advocacy and gender based violence is definitely one that the Coalition feels passionate about,” he said.
Williams added, “As you can see today, in the Silent Protest, we have a number of NGO’s represented as well as adults and more specifically the students of the Goodwill Secondary School and the Seventh Day Adventist Primary School, Goodwill Primary.”
He said, “we want to get out there, the message that it is not right to be participating in any form of violence, especially gender based violence and violence against women.”
He said society is aware that it is a chronic issue and it’s something that is needed to be discussed more openly.
“Going forward we hope that more and more persons join in activities like this and will continue to raise awareness and this awareness can manifest itself within the home,” he noted. “We understand too that it is a very taboo issue so we know that will get some resistance from individuals, persons who do not want the awareness to be raised but we continue earnestly knowing that one day we will be successful in raising the issue and bringing the issue across to everybody.”
“This shouldn’t be a silent protest, this should be a very loud protest”, Parliamentary Representative of the Salisbury Constituency, Hector John told DNO.
“As law makers we need to do much more to ensure that we protect our women and protect our children,” he said. “For us to do that every stakeholder has to come together to ensure that we pass laws or amend laws that will ensure that we protect our women and children.”
He continued, “We have to take it to the schools, take it to the churches, take it to churches, take it to everywhere, to the community, to the youth groups and really go out there on a serious campaign that will positively influence what we are doing in terms of getting the message across where people can be very supportive and speak out against violence against women and children.”
John commended the organizers and called on Dominicans to support the initiative.
“Let us not make it a one day or a few hours a year but let us ensure that we get the households and people can speak out about it,” John noted.