How many of you have been victims of violence against women and how much longer are we going to have to ask, beg for and demand an end to the violence before we see a difference?
Canadian Labour Congress executive vice-president, Marie Clarke-Walker, asked the probing questions in her keynote address at the Jamaican Canadian Association’s (JCA) 13th annual International Women’s Day celebration at the JCA centre.
She said there has been an increase in occurrences despite the organizing of conferences, fora and meetings to discuss the prevention and elimination of violence against women.
“Even more disturbing have been the prevalence of the public displays and incidents of violence,” said Clarke-Walker. “Over the last year, we have seen, read and heard about gang rapes, acid attacks and increased cases of psychological and emotional violence perpetrated against women and girls. Psychological violence is on the increase and it causes major health issues for us. When the emotional and psychological abuse comes from the top, the message it sends to others is that it’s okay to treat one in a demeaning and negative manner.”
Clarke-Walker suggested the creation of programs for men and boys using them as allies to end violence against women and girls.
“Educate women, girls and boys on the rights of women and girls and use social media and other forms of popular media to educate and encourage reporting of violence against women and girls,” she said.
Awards were presented to several JCA members and volunteers to mark International Women’s Day celebrations.
Clarke-Walker’s mother, Beverley Johnson, was the recipient of the Community Award. Other recipients were Dr. Enid Collins, Lisa Marshall – who is enrolled in Humber College’s Medical Assistant program – and Jennifer McFarlane, who is a tutor in the Saturday Morning Tutorial Program.
By RON FANFAIR