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The Caribbean remains in 2012 a violent space for its citizenry. Gender-based violenceparticularly violence against women in various forms has emerged within recent news-cycles raising serious and alarming questions but more importantly highlighting a need for urgent action. The notion of violence under exploration is not only physical force but involves violence in its fullest sense. The, United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) defines violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life." While this article focuses primarily on violence against women, cognizance of the role and complex interactions of our constructions of masculinity and other forms of physical violence are kept in mind. 
A Regional Snapshot
Statistical and anecdotal evidence provide a chilling reminder of the need for action and the cost of inaction. In the region, 48% of girls describe their first sexual encounter as forced and further one in 3 girls and one in 5 boys are abused. The region in 2007 had 3 of the top ten recorded rape rates in the world with other Caribbean countries having a rate of rape above the global average in the UNODC’s Crime Trends Survey.  These statistics of sexual violence are but the tip of the iceberg in the context of chronic under-reporting and the systematic absence of reporting protocols and other inadequacies. The gruesome reality extends further. Statistics reveal a Regional average of 25% of women who have been affected by domestic violence. 21% of murders during 2000-2007 in Barbados were linked to –intimate partner violence. These figures form part of a broader reality that has seen the Caribbean being labelled as Murder Capital of the World. These figures concerning gender-based violence however have not been the subject of the sort of deep political engagement seen in response to other manifestations of the pervasive nature of violence in our societies. In 2011, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago the Hon. Kamla Persud- Bissessar declared a national state of emergency in response to an escalating spate of murders. This State of Emergency sought to address public displays of violence congruent with the reality that 80% of homicide victims are more likely to be killed in a public place. It did not however address the crisis level proportions of violence against women or the unsafe nature of the home for many of its citizens. It did not address the undeclared state of emergency evidenced by our statistics in relation to gender-based violence and it could not address the stories that numbers cannot tell. 
they tend to be users.” Rather than challenging the factors which lead to the production of such abuse she offered this solution. I know that sometimes. highlighted that women … are “abused. and men are to “desist” from it. "I want to ask our young women. the article served through reader comments to provide an unsettling reminder of the work that remains to be done.” These views serve to provide implicit justification for murder and other forms of violence. Girlyn Miguel .” and another that “these women should have known better than to stay with these men. More than simply providing violence for consumption. refused and accused by many of our men. The Deputy Prime Minister of St. One commenter provided her personal experience to demonstrate that rape and other forms of violence is not because of the Jezebel stereotype implicit in the Minister’s comment but rather steeped in complex relationships of power inequality and other social factors. 2011 the Express Newspaper Article entitled Women die at the Hands of Lovers sought to chronicle the murders of Trinidadian women throughout 2011.. The media’s performance of this function must therefore be critically viewed and analysed. again. The article chillingly stated the gruesome details of the murders without more. The Deputy Prime Minister’s statement is deeply problematic insofar as it threatens to further destabilize our societies by reinforcing rather than challenging victim blaming and other manifestations of patriarchy. She stated " If women today are to” protect” themselves from rape. For example one reader stated that “"Many of these women you see in violent situations tend to be manipulative. The article was divorced from the social realities and societal factors driving gender-based violence and arguably simply provided violence for consumption. In 2008. The continued perpetuation of victim blaming provided cogent evidence of the entrenched nature of this phenomenon in our collective psyche. their mode of dress is not good at all and it is important that they dress themselves and do not give temptation to our men. On 27th December.” for their children and their husbands. These views however are not limited to the Media but have also in recent days been expressed within our political climate.” … They have all their mammary glands (breasts) outside — some of them — and they need to know there are two good reasons why we were given these glands. Vincent and the Grenadines The Hon. without more. people must be given advice that is based on knowledge..Media Violence The media serves as a key agent in voicing these stories and awakening national consciousness for change . in particular to dress themselves properly. a similarly designed article entitled “44 murdered: bloody year for females”  to simply present the facts of the violent deaths against women. The inability of the article and a section the subsequent comments to challenge the perceived entitlement of abusers to own their victims or to challenge our socialization norms which lead to the construction of these problematic forms of gender roles must be seen as a form of violence itself. … her personal .
This is the reason why violence against women is so rampant throughout the Caribbean: because we have a culture which tacitly excuses and tries to explain away the murders. Violence. However. the judiciary. Governmental and NGO action alone is not sufficient.” The region faces a clear but hitherto undeclared State of Emergency. some 80% of homicide victims and perpetrators are men. the Women Speak Project provided strong critique of the Deputy Prime Minister’s comment characterizing “the statements as outrageous and incredibly dangerous statements which essentially blame women and the way they dress for the violence perpetrated against them by men.com/2011-10-07/world/world_un-homicide-report_1_homicide-rates-crime-groups-organizedcrime?_s=PM:WORLD  Crime." the report says.trinidadexpress. the media. This appeal to an emancipatory. Our regional prognosis must address perpetrators rather than blaming victims and set in motion a new Caribbean – one that is striving towards meaningful justice and equality.com/news/Women_die_at_hands_of_lovers-136294163. women are mainly murdered at home.nationnews.trinidadexpress. Costs. a call to action." http://articles.  "Globally. rapes and beatings as something that women contribute to by the things they do.tt/news/2011/09/13/brown-curfew-can-bring-rise-domestic-violence http://www. Each citizen has a role in creating this just Caribbean in our multiple social interactions and engagements. the clothes they wear. and Development: Trends. the places they go. and Policy Options in the Caribbean -March 2007 A Joint Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Latin America and the Caribbean Region of the World Bank  http://www.html http://www.cnn. Our polity. These statistics of violence are not just numbers but lost fragments of our collective humanity. The creation of this just society must ascribe a direct role to men to challenge rather than perpetrate violent masculinities evidenced in our current statistics.co. women comprised almost 80% of all people killed by a current or former partner in 2008. The need for capacity building in our institutions.guardian.com/news/44_murdered__bloody_year_for_females-115565404.com/articles/view/domestic-violence-a-scourge/  http://www. whereas men are more likely to be killed in a public places. humansecurity based approach is steeped in the realization that our Caribbean has been inept at protecting ALL of our citizens. rehabilitative and support networks exist. "In Europe. As long as people feel they are justified and have 'cause' to 'put women in their place' this violence will continue. Moreover.the police force.experience meeting the standard of decency suggested by the Minister did not prevent a rape attempt.html   . "But. The strength of purpose and focused attention typically associated with our security concerns must extend to the entire citizenry and the violence meted out in alarming proportions against women must not be seen merely as statistics but rather." according to the report. our politics and our personhood must be so engaged that we live up to the realization of the highest ideals of a just society in no less than the fierce urgency of now.
pdf Organizations: Code Red for Gender Justice Women Speak Project .unifemcar.For more information: http://www.org/photos/Final%20EVAW%20Assessment%20Report.
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