Sat | Feb 22, 2020

Gender violence not a private matter, says Grange - Minister calls on public to speak out at signs of abuse

Published:Thursday | January 16, 2020 | 12:16 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Olivia Grange
Olivia Grange

Noting on Tuesday that 34 persons were murdered across Jamaica within the first 11 days of the year, Olivia Grange, the minister with portfolio responsibility for gender affairs, said that among the victims are some of the country’s most productive women and girls “who are the backbone of the society”.

Grange, speaking in Parliament, said she was joining the multitude of well-thinking Jamaicans condemning and speaking out against the recent brutal acts of violence against women.

Gender-based violence, the minister said, can be perpetrated in many forms, such as psychological, physical, sexual and economic.

“It is a reflection of the culture of violence and silence and is reinforced by various structures and systemic inequalities in the home, in socio-economic systems, and systems of justice,” she told members of the House of Representatives.

Grange noted that she wanted to assure the public that the Government has continued to pursue legislative solutions for enhanced security measures, and added that it would intensify the ‘No Excuse for Abuse’ public education campaign to ensure that the scourge of gender-based violence is treated with urgent attention and strong operational measures.

“I want to appeal to persons involved in situations of conflict to seek the necessary counselling and psycho-social support.

“Too often, these situations results in acts of violence and are often life-threatening and rob our families of hardworking and productive community members,” Grange said.

Since New Year’s Eve, there have been three reported prominent cases of domestic violence resulting in death.

In the first case, an apparent lovers’ quarrel in Mandeville, Manchester, led to the shooting death of 24-year-old Shantel Whyte.

Then, on January 12, a Jamaica Defence Force soldier, identified as 33-year-old Doran McKenzie, murdered his common-law wife Suianne Easy before killing himself.

Hours later that Sunday, in Brinkley district, St Elizabeth, 27-year-old Nevia Sinclair was murdered in her sleep by her estranged boyfriend.

Grange said gender-based violence is not a private matter, but a crime that is everybody’s business.

“If you see it, feel it or know of it, report it. Let us stand up and talk, because there is no excuse for abuse,” she said.

Her call for action was supported by the opposition spokesperson on gender affairs, Denise Daley, who said she welcomed the minister’s statement but wanted to see the administration speed up the revised legislation to address the issue.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com