Statistics from the ‘Central Registry on Domestic Violence’ are showing that the victims of domestic violence in Dominica are overwhelmingly women.
Even more disheartening, the statistics show that women under the age of 16 are widely abused on the island.
The statistics show that between July 2011 and mid-October 2015 there were over 1,041 reported cases of domestic violence in Dominica.
Of that total, 88 percent were women.
The statistics also show that 52 percent of the victims of domestic violence are women under the age of 16.
The Central Registry on Domestic Violence reveals that 47 percent of victims are related to their perpetrator.
Acting Director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Kyra Paul told Dominica News Online that there is no justification for such kinds of violence.
“We are all basic human beings and we are all meant to live free from any form of violation…” she stated.
She said violence against women and girls is particularly wrong because it is a violation of basic human rights and the right to live free from harm.
“We know that violence does not only cause pain and suffering but it also impedes our physical integrity. We know that violence against women and girls in any form, whether it is physical, sexual abuse, is a major problem globally and even there in our own little Dominica we continue to see violence and we continue to have reports on violence against women and girls,” she stated.
She also called on the public to stop blaming victims.
“We are calling on all of us to desist from that kind of behaviour, to engage in more positive conversations that surround the issue and let’s discuss the prevalence and what it means to you and I, what it means to our future children, what it means to the children now who are at school, what it means to the children who are exposed to those kinds of behaviours,” she remarked.
Paul added, “Let us engage in positive discussions so that we can actually create safe spaces, whether it is at work, whether it’s at school, whether it’s within the church, whether it’s within the community, whether it’s on the cyberspace, but let us create that kind of space for women and girls so they can live a life free from those kinds of behaviours.”
She indicated that men, or any perpetrators of violence, should be able to deal with conflicts without being violent.
“There are alternatives to dealing with conflicts, people have to learn a little bit more about anger issues and a little bit more about tolerance,” she noted. “There is always an alternative so that we can solve the disputes that we have within the families. Only when we are able to do so then we will see improved relationships between our spouses, we will see improved relationships between child and father.”
She believes that men should value women in society.
“These are the women that we go to bed with, these are the women who mother our children, these are the women we engage in relations with,” she explained. “We need to improve the kind of relationship that we see in society and one of the ways we need to do that is for men to change their attitude towards women, they need to understand that this is a partner, there is something called equality and that women are your partners and they should be valued on a number of dimensions…”
On Wednesday (today) the Bureau of Gender Affairs is launching its 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The event is a time to galvanise action to end violence against women and girls around the world.
Each year the campaign has provided a rallying point for the governments, NGOs, CBOs and other stakeholders in the region to mount events aimed at raising awareness, influencing behaviour change and securing high-level political commitment to end gender violence.
The campaign takes place annually in the period between 25 November and 10 December.
Recently there were two cases of violence against women which sent shockwaves through the nation.
On November 3, Triscia Riviere, 26, of Stockfarm was reportedly killed by her boyfriend. Thirty-year-old Rodman Moses Lewis has been charged with her murder.
On November 23, a young lady was viciously attacked and chopped by her boyfriend at her workplace in Roseau.