As Barbados prepares to join the international community in commemorating the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, the Bureau of Gender Affairs and its partners are hosting a number of events to sensitise the public to this scourge.

“Human Rights for Women – Human Rights for All” is the theme of this year’s celebrations, which will run from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to December 10, International Human Rights Day.

The activities will begin with Barbadians being encouraged to visit UN House on Monday, November 24, from 10:00 a.m. to sign a petition to say no to violence against women. This campaign is an internet-based awareness and advocacy effort to end gender-based violence and it is being promoted by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

The following day, Tuesday, November 25, the Bureau will sponsor a symposium at the Bagnall Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Village titled “All is Not Fair In Love and War”. Presenters will include Welfare Officer with the Welfare Department, Sharon-Rose Gittens, who will present her research paper on “Parenting Perpetrators in Domestic Violence”; while Director of UNIFEM, Roberta Clarke, will speak on “Domestic Violence in the Context of Human Rights and Domestic Law”. Preliminary findings will also be presented on the prevalence and demographic characteristics of domestic violence in Barbados.

On Wednesday, November 26, Dr. Elliot Doughlin will speak at the Democratic League of Women’s lecture, “Stop the Violence on our Bodies: Living Healthy”. It will be held at the George Street Auditorium, St. Michael, and starts at 5:30 p.m. At 7:00 that same evening, the Baha’is of Barbados will stage an observance for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It will be in the meeting room of the Frank Collymore Hall, and speakers will include the Bureau’s Nalita Gajadhar and Psychologist, Dr. Norma Astwood. There will be poetry and songs by Margaret Gill and Margaret Bovell, while prayers will be offered for those who have been injured or died as a result of domestic violence.

The Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados will stage public outreach programmes starting next Friday, November 28, at Big B Supermarket, Worthing, from 10:00 a.m.; on Saturday, November 29, at Sheraton Mall, from 5:00 p.m.; on Friday, December 5, at Super Centre Sunset Crest, St. James, from 10:00 a.m.; and Saturday, December 6, at Super Centre Warrens, from 12 noon. Educational material will be distributed.

On Monday, December 1, there will be a World AIDS Day Rally at Queen’s Park, starting at 12 noon.

The National Organisation of Women (NOW) will sponsor the schools’ intervention programme on Wednesday, December 3, at Solidarity House, from 8:30 a.m. A number of secondary school children will examine issues of gender, domestic violence, anger management and conflict resolution. On Wednesday, December 10, NOW will also host a workshop for mature women to equip them with the necessary skills to negotiate safer sex.

An open air service is being organised by the Mothers’ Union for Sunday, December 7, in Jubilee Gardens, starting at 3:30 p.m. Minister of Family, Youth, Sports and Environment, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, and representatives of the Anglican Men’s Association and several women’s groups in other denominations will give remarks, while Reverend Angela Phillips will deliver an address.

On Monday, December 8, at 7:30 p.m., there will be a panel discussion at the Deacons Community Centre entitled “Removing the Mask – Battered Women”. Speakers will include attorney-at-law, Andrew Pilgrim, two victims of domestic violence and a psychologist.

All members of the public are urged to participate in the activities and take a stand on all forms of gender-based violence.

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