Reflecting on a year of several incidents of domestic violence, the National Organization of Women (NOW) today called for the establishment of a National Sexual Offenders Register as a means of protecting women and girls.
In NOW’s end of year message, president Marilyn Rice-Bowen said the register should list all sex offenders, mainly rapists, so that they would be known by the public for the overall protection to society.
“We are not calling for this for malicious purposes and for people to go and see who is on the list, but for people to use the list as a means of protecting females. It is being done in the United States and it should be done here,” she said.
“There are occasions where men have been charged for rape and those men should not find themselves in certain jobs and locations. They should be kept away from females. Think about a rapist working as a security guard at a school and he is supposed to be watching children,” Rice-Bowen told Barbados TODAY in a follow-up interview.
In her message, she said NOW, which represents all women organizations in Barbados, bid 2014 farewell against a backdrop of disruption of peace and mutilation of women.
She declared that this would not be tolerated in 2015 and reminded women to treat every threat seriously.
“We, through our affiliates, will continue to offer programmes to support prevention of violence. We will continue to protect victims of violence and assist in their transformation to survivors of violence. All perpetrators of violence against women will be brought to justice,” she said.
“The National Organization of Women will not retreat. We hold firm to the view that violence against women is a human rights violation. 2015 will witness a strengthening of relationships with our existing partners as we seek to reinforce our base.”
The president also called on all women in the home, community and workplace to join NOW’s journey.
“Women, raise your voices and denounce violence against women. You might not be a member of a formal organization but because you are woman that is your licence to join forces with us. Every woman must take a stand.”
In her New Year’s message, founder and chairman of the SAVE Foundation Liesel Daisley said the coming year had to be one in which the authorities do more to protect and save women who are victims of abuse.
“There are women being violently abused in this country at an alarming rate, while those that make the decisions sit back,” she charged.
“We need to turn up the pressure in 2015 so that we can see change come about in Barbados and so that we don’t lose any more mothers and daughters in this manner.”
Daisley added that she wanted members and friends of SAVE to approach 2015 with a renewed passion “to help those that are not in a position to help themselves and have the issue of eradicating domestic violence as their focus”.