Women's Issues In Guyana


GHRA releases leaflet tackling sexual violence against women

Posted in Activism,Crimes against Women by wiig on March 9, 2006
Tags: , , ,

Kaieteur News – March 9, 2006

The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) yesterday released the first of three leaflets produced in its Campaign Against Sexual Violence in observance of International Women’s Day 2006.

Launched at the end of 2005, the campaign aims to inform and mobilise public opinion around the seriousness and prevalence of sexual violence in Guyana ; to develop and advocate for reforms to laws and legal processes regarding sexual violence; and to explore better provision of essential legal, health and counselling services required by survivors of sexual violence.

The first leaflet addresses the need for education on the problem of sexual violence and the need to reform the justice process with respect to sexual violence, and highlights the importance of community level groups and organisations in achieving improvements.

In a release the GHRA noted that one misleading impression, widespread among women as well as men, is that rape only occurs when a woman or girl is sexually assaulted in a violent manner.

The leaflet addresses the fact that women often believe, and are encouraged to believe, that sexual violence is their fault.

Suggestions are made that they should have dressed differently, should not have gone out alone nor drank alcohol, or should have been more careful.

The habit of blaming women makes them more vulnerable to attacks and allows their attackers to escape prosecution and continue to act with impunity, the GHRA pointed out.

The leaflet also addresses the fact that many women never complete the legal process.

According to the GHRA leaflet, the reason why only 3% of all rape cases progress beyond the preliminary inquiry stage in court is because of the humiliation, isolation and hostility experienced by rape victims during the legal process.

The leaflet also pointed to the need for a response at the community level to these problems.

According to the GHRA, community groups are best placed to have a real impact on the problem and are encouraged to utilise the leaflet to involve religious organisations, youths and schools in discussions about the issues.

Later publications in the campaign will address the formation of community care and support groups in order to support survivors when they go to court, provide emotional support for families, and challenge the disrespectful attitudes of officials towards survivors.

A steering committee comprising members of the Age of Consent Coalition has also been formed which reflects the broad-based geographic membership of the AOC.

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