Guyana Times Editorial, December 7, 2018: As the annual ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ campaign continues, the Social Protection Ministry hosted a programme that saw men from all walks of life participating, with the aims of eliminating all forms of violence against women.
Held under the theme ‘Hear me too: collective voices against gender-based violence’, the programme aims at targeting all males across the length and breadth of Guyana.
According to Social Services Director Whentworth Tanner, activities will be conducted in all 10 administrative regions. Tanner noted that, “We are working closely with the Regional Democratic Councils, but where we don’t have those collaborations, we are working through the Regional Women’s Affairs Committee”.
Tanner noted that the through the programme, men complained about not being heard in society as it relates to violence. This, he noted, caused the Ministry to set up a forum where men can freely discuss their social issues.
“Most men don’t see themselves as perpetrators but because a few men that participate in activities that are condemned by society, all men are painted with the same brush. We don’t want that so the goal of this activism programme is to be able to help the targeted audience which are men to change their mindsets as it relates to violence against women.”
Tanner also related that the Ministry is also working to introduce more male-related programmes where they can be trained in particular divisions which will in return be beneficial “not only to women but society also”.
Some of the topics discussed during the 16-day programme were sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence, poor health choices, male perpetrators of violence, masculinity and manhood and consequences and corrections.
The awareness session will conclude on December 10. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign is a time to galvanise action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.
Currently, more than 3700 organisations from approximately 164 countries participate in the campaign annually.
Joining these organisations this year is Voices Against Violence, an umbrella entity comprising non-government organisations, faith-based organisations, community-based organisations and other entities and activists that organise speak outs across Guyana.
This effort has been endorsed by the Ministry, which is partnering with Voices Against Violence; the Women and Gender Equality Commission and Help and Shelter.
Organisations, groups and communities are urged to bring people together and have them share experiences, personal or otherwise, on gender-based, child and sexual abuse as well as to brainstorm ideas which will address these scourges.
The idea is to create scope for victims to speak out since doing so is a form of catharsis that can also motivate and inspire other victims.
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