Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Talks on gender-based violence should happen early - Ardenne head girl

Published:Friday | March 17, 2017 | 3:00 AMSyranno Baines
Dahlia Thomas

In citing an urgent need to tackle the issue of gender-based violence (GBV) from a tender age within the family structure, Head Girl of the Ardenne High School Dahlia Thomas has come out in support of the initiative to host talks in schools on the sensitive topic.

Last Thursday, the delegation of the European Union (EU) and its member states resident in Jamaica launched a series of conversations with students of secondary institutions to explore the subject of GBV and speak on women's economic empowerment.

"It's an issue that you find in the wider society, and you have to understand that the school is a microcosm of society, and therefore, there are persons here who will be impacted by this, and it's important for those persons who may not have a voice at home to have that voice when they come to school through initiatives like this," the grade-13 law aspirant told The Gleaner at 10 Ardenne Road in St Andrew.

Thomas said society has become desensitised to GBV, leading to persons not placing enough importance on resolving it, and it produces a crop of girls lacking in self-esteem.

She added: "You're never too young because, even though violence won't present itself the same way to you when you're three as it will when you're 23, violence is still presented to you in some form or the other. So, all we need to do is tackle violence at a level where the person can understand based on their age. We need to transform the culture by first targeting socialisation in the home. How we socialise our boys vs how we socialise our girls, what we socialise them to believe about themselves and also the opposite sex."

... Violence affects productivity - Lyn

Thalia Lyn, CEO of the Island Grill chain of restaurants and a supporter of a series of conversations on gender-based violence (GBV), has agreed that there is need for such discussions to take place among the youth.

"It starts in the home. If your father hits your mother, then you think that's what should happen. But if he shows your mother respect, then odds are you'll grow to show that same respect. I feel strongly about GBV because I employ 700 people, three-quarter of whom are women, and if there is violence, it affects productivity in the workspace and it affects children. So, starting in schools and shaping these young minds is an ideal method to end this practice of not just GBV, but violence in its entirety."

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com