In recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women organised by the United Nations, government leaders are planning 16 days of activism to oppose gender-based violence.

Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone announced on Nov. 25 that the territory would recognise the campaign from that day until Dec. 10, which falls on International Human Rights Day.

The UN has been observing the day ever since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights passed in 1948, proclaiming the inalienable rights of every human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, opinions, origins, property, birth or other status.

“Now more than ever, we need to work together to address and prevent violence against women and girls,” Mr. Malone said. “Many of our women and girls continue to suffer from violence, discrimination, and gender inequality.”

Citing data from the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, he said 86 cases of domestic violence were reported in the territory this year up to July 2021, and most of these instances were against women.

Stigmatisation

He noted that fear of stigmatisation frequently acts as a barrier for women to report gender-based crimes.

Mr. Malone said his ministry stands in solidarity with the worldwide movement for immediate action to address such violence.

This year’s theme focuses on the colour orange to represent a brighter future free from violence, according to the UN.

For those experiencing domestic violence, the Office of Gender Affairs provides assistance to vulnerable individuals in need of protection and can be contacted by phone at 468-2234 or 468-2236, by email at gaffairs@gov.vg, or on the second floor of Mill Mall at Wickhams Cay I. Additionally, the Family Support Network can be contacted at 542-2085.


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