Women's Issues In Guyana


Stella Says…Sin City Can Be A Model For Protecting Guyana’s Women

Kaieteur News – November 29, 2005

In my last column, I showed a side of my heart that I do not often share publicly because my love for my children is a very personal matter. However, the situation called for a mother’s love to express the emotions that stirred in me over a recent rape victim.

Today, I am going to be very blunt regarding those who sexually abuse and assault women and children. I believe it is time we started calling these acts what they are – crimes. And it is time to start calling the perpetrators of these acts by their rightful titles – criminals.

Someone asked me the other day why so many people get upset when men invade a home and rape a woman, but no one says a word when a little girl is raped repeatedly by her dad, brother, uncle or family friend. Good question. Both acts are equally atrocious.

Therefore, today I am calling every single father who has ever touched his daughter in such a way exactly what he is – a vile and disgusting criminal. The same holds true for the brothers, uncles and family friends. I hope there is a nice cosy jail cell with each of your names on it. (more…)

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Loss of innocence: Incest, other abuse damage children’s minds

Posted in Crimes against Women by wiig on November 27, 2005
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Stabroek News – November 27, 2005
By Oluatoyin Alleyne

Jennifer’s story
Jennifer (not her real name) is not your average nine-year-old. At an age when she should be enjoying childish things she has already lost her innocence. Jennifer has been raped repeatedly, has contracted a sexually transmitted infection, and has had to face the accused in court. Jennifer has had to grow up fast.

And as if that were not enough Jennifer’s mother forced her to lie about who had raped her. So Jennifer blamed her drug-addicted stepfather, the father of her mother’s last two children. But after months in the court, the child broke down on the witness stand confessing to the magistrate that her stepfather was not the perpetrator. She named the man.

He was a neighbour who was already before the courts on a carnal knowledge charge involving Jennifer’s six-year-old sister. The man was subsequently charged with committing the acts on Jennifer. Prima facie cases were made out against him in both instances and he is to face trial in the High Court.

This is just one of the horror stories that social workers at Help & Shelter encounter almost on a daily basis. (more…)

Reform sexual offences legislation -Help & Shelter/Red Thread

Posted in Activism,Legislation by wiig on November 26, 2005
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Stabroek News – November 26, 2005

There is need for sexual offences legislation to be reformed after meaningful public consultations, and the findings should be respected by being used to guide the reform, according to Help & Shelter and Red Thread.

The two organizations, in a joint press release to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, are also calling on the Commissioner of Police to fulfil the commitment by the Guyana Police Force to establish domestic violence and child abuse units in the force with public monitoring.

Next year, which they noted is an election year, they pledged to “act with determination to ensure that domestic violence and other issues wrongly marginalised as ‘women’s issues’ are not allowed to remain off the national agenda.”

It makes you sick

Posted in Crimes against Women by wiig on November 26, 2005
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Stabroek News – November 26, 2005
Editorial

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday published the results of a landmark study it conducted on domestic violence, which showed that it takes an enormous toll on the health and well-being of abused women around the world.

The study, which interviewed 24,000 women from ten countries, also found that even in war-torn countries and those with high rates of other crime women were more at risk from violence in the home than on the street. As a result, WHO Director-General, Dr Lee Jong-wook said at the launching of the report in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday that domestic violence should be treated as a major public health issue. (more…)

Elimination of violence against women…Former battered woman offers source of strength

Posted in Crimes against Women by wiig on November 25, 2005
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Stabroek News – November 25, 2005
By Oluatoyin Alleyne

As the world recognises today as the day designated for the ‘Elimination of Violence against Women’ many women will still be finding excuses for bruises on their bodies while some others will be trying to conceal them.

Some will think of the many times they packed up and left home in an attempt to escape the brutality of their partners. Some may be nostalgic about the short reprieve they gained and angry at themselves for being cleverly conned into returning.

They may also spare a fleeting thought for the numerous women now six feet under. Some may wonder if that could someday be their fate.

Guyana is one of the countries where violence against women is still largely viewed as a normal occurrence: where it seems okay for a man to slap, cuff, kick a woman to keep her in line. In many cases the women would leave but would return time after time for varying reasons, one famous one being “for the sake of the children”. Some are so totally dependent on the men for their daily bread they are unable to set off on their own and in many instances when they finally decide to do so it is too late as the men driven by some form of madness brutally end their lives. (more…)

Abuse of girls single most pressing human rights problem – GHRA

Posted in Crimes against Women by wiig on November 25, 2005
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Stabroek News – November 25, 2005

Lack of protection for girls against sexual and physical exploitation and abuse is the single most pressing human rights violation in Guyana, the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) said yesterday.

The GHRA, in a release to mark International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, being observed today, noted that such abuse is a human rights violation as well as a crime, because of the strong element of discrimination – institutional as well as personal – which pervades it. The association noted that all organisations and institutions in the society have an obligation to scrutinise themselves on how much they passively or actively contribute to a culture of violence against women.

“Such stock-taking is particularly needed among those state and civil agencies which have a pivotal role to play if this de-humanising culture is to be changed, notably the bar and the bench, the media, religious organisations, business and trade unions,” the release said. (more…)

Some 100 rapes so far this year – only half of all cases reported

Posted in Crimes against Women by wiig on November 24, 2005
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By Nigel Williams
Stabroek News – July 24th 2005

Close to 100 women, mostly teenagers, have been sexually assaulted for the year so far, but less than half of these cases have been reported to the police.

Official records at all of the magisterial districts revealed a total of some 50 rape charges to date for this year. But outgoing Chief Probation and Family Welfare Officer, Ann Greene said the real figure would be almost double that number, as there were many cases where the victims only approached the probation office and others where they sought neither counsel nor justice. Greene added that there was also a number of unsolved cases in which suspects either skipped the country or went into hiding or where the victims declined to give evidence. (more…)

Stella Says…My Heart is Broken

Posted in Commentary,Crimes against Women,Stella Says by wiig on November 24, 2005
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Kaieteur News – November 24, 2005

There are but a few times each year when a nation is called upon to stand together as one against the darkest forces of evil that can pervade a community. This week Guyana has been so challenged.

This week an 18 year-old girl was brutally raped by three men whom she knew and trusted. This week innocence was crushed. This week a beautiful life has been trampled.

I have an 18 year-old daughter. She is the most beautiful young woman I have ever laid eyes on. She has her daddy’s cocoa colour, my late mother’s mouth and my features. She is the oldest of my children and when she was born I would stare at her in her crib for hours. I still steal these moments every chance I get.

She is very intelligent and has the capacity to be anything she wants to be in life. She is ten times the leader that I will ever be and she doesn’t even know it yet. She is self-confident, but not arrogant – though she can be a snob at times and I am quick to chastise her for such transgressions. I told her from the time she could talk that a woman can be beautiful on the outside, but if she is ugly on the inside – then she is just plain ugly.   (more…)

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