Message from the Leader of the Opposition on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 2018
For another year, as we join the international community in commemorating International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, I call on each citizen of Trinidad and Tobago to do more to stop violence in all forms.
While some progress has been made, violence against women in Trinidad and Tobago remains at unacceptably high levels.
The statistics are not encouraging, and are, in fact, cause for deep concern. A recent report by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) shows that one in three women in our country would have experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner. In 2017, 43 of the 52 women murder were due to domestic violence. For 2018 so far, 28 women have been murdered.
The 2017 National Women’s Health Survey for Trinidad and Tobago showed that one in three women who experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) remained quiet about their experience and most survivors did not seek or receive assistance for their situation.
We must do more to protect our girls and women. Women no longer feel safe in their homes, on the streets, at their jobs or while doing everyday activities.
There is an urgent need for greater awareness of this issue, and we should start by guiding our children and instilling in them that violence against women is unacceptable.
We must stand in support of the women who are bravely speaking out against their attackers, and for those who cannot, or who may be reluctant, we need to be their voices and demand action.
While Trinidad and Tobago has existing legislation which deals with domestic violence, The Domestic Violence Act Chapter 45:56, the time has come for us to re-examine this legislation to look at ways in which we can strengthen the provisions of this law. We need to redouble our efforts to come up with solutions to the scourge of violence in all forms, but particularly against our women and girls.
On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, I urge all citizens to join in the 16 days of Activism and “Orange the World: #HearMeToo” and work towards ending this violation of fundamental human rights.
It is my hope that we can all work together to create a nation in which all our citizens can feel safe.
25th November, 2018