Ending violence against women and girls
Our Readers' Opinions
November 26, 2013
Ending violence against women and girls

Tue Nov 26, 2013

by The National

Council of Women

The President and members of the National Council of Women in SVG are deeply concerned that violence against women and girls continues to be one of the most pervasive manifestations of discrimination against women and violations of human rights.{{more}} Violence against women and girls is a universal phenomenon and its levels remain unacceptably high. As many as seven in 10 women in various parts of the world report having experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime, most of them at the hands of intimate partners.

Violence against women and girls seriously affects their strength to enjoy rights and freedoms on the same level with men and has effects on many aspects of the lives of women and girls, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as their mental and physical health. However, violence against women and girls has been found to be a cause and outcome beyond the impact on individuals; violence against women and girls has severe action on families, communities and societies, and results in significant economic and social costs for countries. This is an hindrance to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and other national and all internationally agreed development goals.

We do realise that violence against women and girls is being increasingly documented and addressed, as a result of the effort of the world civil society, women’s and child rights organisations around the world. Women and girls must not be seen only as victims, but as avenue of change and close partners in ending discrimination and violence. To end violence against women and girls we must educate men and women and change gender stereotypes, attitudes and beliefs that condone violence and harmful building of masculinity. Efforts to prevent gender based violence must be accelerated, along with increased access to justice, including reparations, and access to services, the empowerment of women and girls and the eradication of stigmatisation of survivors. This requires the adoption of approaches at different levels and engaging all aspects of society, including dedicated work with men and boys, in order to make an environment for women and girls to exercise their rights and live free of violence.

We call upon all governments to honour their obligations to end violence against women and girls as outlined in the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and their optional protocols and other human rights treaties. We also call on government to implement, with adequate resources, the commitments made in the Beijing Platform for Action, the Programme of the International Conference on Population and Development, Security Council resolution 1983.

The National Council of Women is willing and ready to work together with regional and national partners to end the scourge of violence against women and girls. We know that we are limited in our effort to help more women and girls, as we presently have no place to call home, where we can function more effectively and attend to the needs of Vincentian women and girls who are in crisis.

The Council needs to be financially stable to meet its obligations and are calling on all past presidents and members and the general public to lend support to the National Council of Women to carry its our mandate and all its other functions to support/help out women and girls.

Violence against women and girls can and should be prevented. The National Council of Women stands ready to work in partnership and do its part.