Round one against domestic violence in Barbados has been won.
At least that is the belief of President of the National Organisation of Women, Marilyn Rice-Bowen, who told an audience at the first ever rally against domestic violence, that success was happening.
“So far we can comfortably say we have won round one because when I check the [paper] of September 11, Minister Byer-Suckoo stated that the Cabinet recently accepted the recommendations to update the Domestic Violence Protection Order Act. So ladies clap for that. We have won round one. We still have far to go, but we are getting things moving and to get things moving you have to agitate.”
She noted that the Acting Commissioner of Police, Tyrone Griffith, had also spoken yesterday on the success of the Family Conflict Unit, on which the BPW (Barbados) had been instrumental in working with police.
“Women in Barbados are working. You might not hear it every day, you might not see us every day, but trust me, we are working on your behalf. So the police are talking about the work of the Family Intervention Unit, how it has been going, the fact that they were seeing a lot of cases, but that is what BPW were saying all along,” she noted. She told the audience that the rally was intended to start a wave in Barbados, aimed at breaking the silence on domestic violence.
“We need to break the silence. Our women have been suffering in silence for too long… We are aiming to break the silence. We are not aiming to break the silence to expose people, we are breaking the silence to assist you. Very often in our ‘walk-abouts’ we meet men … and when we talk about domestic violence one of the men said, ‘that is what you call it? It is just a little lash to keep she in shape’.
“We need to tell the men, we need to tell the boys, that that is domestic violence and women all over this country, and men too, ought to denounce domestic violence.
“So in Barbados we are starting a wave. We are going to go right through the entire country because this message must be heard, and not only are we going to speak to you, but we have trained counsellors here tonight who are able to counsel anybody that needs assistance,” said Rice-Bowen, adding that even before the rally begun two women had come for assistance.
In addition to speeches from advocates from BPW (Barbados), the Bureau of Gender Affairs, the church, a Government minister, Barbados Nurses Association, a UN Women representative, Soroptimist, and other interest groups, there were also presentations from singer Bobo, who performed a new original song Treasure Woman, from mime Andr√ Belle, dancer Sandra Nicholls and spoken word artist, Adrian Green. (LB)