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Jul 17, 2015

WINBelize Takes Proactive Approach in Fight Against Gender-based Violence

The recent murders of two women, Juana Cardinez and Keisha Buller, that allegedly took place at the hands of their domestic partners, has prompted a reaction from the Women’s Issues Network of against the acts of violence against women. In a recent meeting that WIN Belize held with its thirteen member organizations, it was resolved that a more proactive approach must be taken to tackle gender base violence in Belize. A part of that is the inclusion of all partners, public and private, as well as the community. A part of that, Executive Director Carolyn Reynolds says is the inclusion of men in the larger public discourse. They have, once before, undertaken exercises to bring all the pieces of the puzzle together, and men, the largest group of perpetrators of violence against women, have proven to be a bit more challenging to engage.

 

Carolyn Reynolds, Exec Dir, WIN Belize

“It’s a cultural thing and it has always been that it’s the women who have been provided the services. But men also they are not as open to getting services for themselves, because of the way we are socialized.; the men being the macho, the men being the what I say goes. It’s the patriarchal system, right? What I say goes. Yes, I do agree that we need to have services for men in those areas, looking at it from a different perspective. Again, we don’t have where men will come together and speak about these things. So, this is where the responsibility comes in for Government, N.G.O.s and the community to get together and come up with some programs, because we do need programs that the men can be part of. There were some, a program that was started by the women’s department, batters intervention programme, but again, I think we were not getting the men to be a part of the programme but those who went through they did see a difference in their behaviors. That was done in collaboration with the court, where men who had their first offences would be put through the programme.  There are statistics that we have seen where there are more reported cases and yes there are still some that goes unreported. We also see where the statistics does help the agencies that we work with, to help reduce and eliminate, and build awareness around the issue of domestic violence. We have also looked at the domestic violence act and that is an area also that Government and N.G.O.s have worked on and that has also been reviewed and revised. There are things that have been done before but more needs to be done.”

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