Women's Issues In Guyana

Amerindian Affairs Minister in stern warning on statutory rape

Stabroek News Editorial – March 1, 2008

On Monday last, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a multi-year global campaign bringing together the United Nations, governments and civil society to try to end violence against women, calling it an issue that “cannot wait.” This campaign, themed “Say No to Violence against Women”, runs until 2015, the same target year as the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

Monday also marked the start of 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence, which has been described as “a hidden pandemic”. Apart from the obvious – domestic abuse and partner-based violence – according to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), violence against women manifests itself in some $9.5 billion in earnings for human-trafficking criminal networks, in such harmful practices as female genital mutilation, in the young women and girls who constituted 61 per cent of people living with HIV in Africa and in the use of rape as a method of warfare.

In an impassioned speech at the launch, the Secretary-General noted: “But there is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.” A simple truth, one might think. So how is it that so many people don’t seem to get it?

At the community level, there are still too many people who think that some women deserve to be beaten by their men. And there is a whole list of circumstances where they find this acceptable: if she cheats; if she doesn’t prepare his meals, launder his clothes or clean the house; if her behaviour embarrasses him, among others. (more…)


Under age girls are exploited in these interior night spots

Stabroek News – February 14, 2008

Dear Editor,

It is interesting to note in the January 19, 2008 Stabroek News the report “Female MPs discuss sexual violence.”

Parents and teachers at all levels and churches have equal responsibility in setting proper standards in moral values and behavioural patterns. This issue is not a blame game, all must be involved.

The `Stamp it out’ proposal that was initiated and pioneered by the Minister of Human Services and Social Security is indeed a brilliant one.

In our Matarkai sub-region sexual violence is on the rise. There are two officers that are tasked or who have direct responsibility to look after such problems as sexual violence. They are the Welfare and Probation officers.

There are several cases I could mention but I will cite just one. On the January 9, 2008 there was an incident where the police brought out from “Big Creek” to Port Kaituma a minor aged 12 years (name given) who traffics her body for $5,000 per man. After investigation by the police it was discovered that her parents were nowhere around. She was however assisted while in “Big Creek by an aged relative who is a pensioner. She was subsequently handed over to the Welfare and Probation Officers. (more…)