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Nov 25, 2016

16 Days of Activism Starts with Powerful Testimonies from Survivors

All this week we have been sharing with you the lead-up to Sixteen Days of Activism, being held under the theme “Unmasking the Many Faces of Gender-Based Violence.” Today, Friday, is the International Day to End Violence Against Women. Oftentimes, domestic violence becomes a story in the media when a victim dies or is severely injured. The question then, is why submit themselves to that? According to the women whose powerful testimonies we share with you tonight, the question should really be, what society allows its women to face that? Inclement weather drove the usual outdoor activity indoors to the Princess Hotel, but the results were no less authoritative.

 

Marley Brown

Marley Brown, Domestic Violence Survivor

“We don’t raise boys to be men; we raise them not to be women, or gay men. We teach boys that girls and women are less than, and that leads to violence by some and silence by many. Violence against women is a countrywide, yet still hidden problem. Freedom from the threat of harassment, battering and sexual assault, is a concept that most of us have a hard time imagining, because violence is such a deep part of our cultures and our lives. Violence against women is woven in such a deep part of our lives to such an extent that some of us who have been victimized, myself included, feel it is our fault. Many of those who perpetrate violence feel justified by strong societal messages that say that any form of violence is acceptable. Every day, we see images of male violence against women in the news, on TV shows, in the movies, in advertising, and in our homes and workplaces. It is a fact of life, for women of all ages, races and classes can be victims of gender-based violence.”

 

Michelle Silva

Michelle Silva, Domestic Violence Survivor

“As a survivor of domestic abuse, sometimes it’s hard to revisit the past – but who can tell our story better than us? When I see someone going through the same situation I feel sad, knowing that just a few years ago, I too was where you are, and like you, I also felt helpless. I found courage within myself and with the help of God; I gained the strength to be the voice and advocate for those who suffer in silence. I am no longer ashamed of unmasking the physical, mental, verbal and emotional abuse that I suffered for over fourteen years, at the hands of the person who claimed to love me.”

 

Cindy Castillo

Cindy Castillo, Domestic Violence Survivor

“When my oldest son who was six at the time, wanted to help me during one of our “events,” I remember begging him to go back to his room. And when his father left, after taking the money – he wanted to go out the night – he helped me to crawl into the bathroom; he wet a towel and he wiped the blood away. And he made a promise to me – that when he was big, no one would ever do that to me. I dare the person that tries now – he’s almost twenty-three and he’s six-foot-three inches tall. (Laughter) Fierce defender of his very short mom. But that night I realized I had to do something to make him understand that this was not the way to live. When I was found out I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I knew it was time to leave. I prayed to God every day to open a door for me, a door that was wide enough, not just for me, but for my babies as well, for I could not leave without them. I often say that my son and my daughter saved us all.”

 

Other speakers included Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis-Barrow; Inspector of Police Martha Rhys, the Officer in Charge of the Domestic Violence Unit; and Dylan Williams, monitoring and evaluation officer for the National Committee for Families and Children. The other cornerstones of the 16 Days are World AIDS Day on December first and World Human Rights Day on December tenth. International Anti-Corruption Day on December ninth, when Government plans to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), falls in there as well.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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