Combatting Relationship Violence


“$100,000 bail for teenager on rape charges”
“Gardener jailed for 5 years for chopping wife”
“70% of women suffer gender based violence” 
Speaker wants law enforcement to stop violence against women”
“Teen found hanging from mango tree – no foul play suspected”

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: These daily headlines appearing in one week, were highlighted by Attorney Lynette Seebaran Suite as she questioned whether as a people the true concept of the word relationship was being understood?

The Chairperson of ASPIRE, was delivering the feature address at the ASPIRE launch of “Respectful Relationships” during the 2012 observance of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. UN Women is providing funding support to the project and other partners include the Ministry of National Security Citizen Security Programme and the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) of the University of the West Indies, Saint Augustine campus.

The Respectful Relationship campaign is part of the organisation’s wider Zero Tolerance Campaign on Domestic Violence which was launched in 2011 and supports ASPIRE’s wider efforts to improve the capacity of young women in particular to negotiate safer sexual practices and to increase awareness about citizen rights and responsibilities with a particular focus on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and Responsibilities.

Ms. Seebaran Suite noted that relationship violence continues to exist in unacceptable proportions within Trinidad and Tobago, with reports of sexual violence for 2012 already surpassing the figures for 2011.  

“Respectful Relationships is targeted to youth with applicability to everyone in Trinidad and Tobago. It is aimed at helping persons recognize the characteristics of healthy relationships vs. unhealthy relationships. It will help to increase awareness about how persons can ensure their personal safety as well as about the availability of support systems and services,” the Chairperson explained. 

Ms. Seebaran Suite further emphasized that early adolescence is characterized as a ‘window of opportunity’ to expose youth and girls in particular to healthy relationship development and non-violent conflict resolution.

Launch of the Respectul Relationships Campaign

“As the team (ASPIRE, UWI IGDS, UN WOMEN and CSP) all collaborating for this effort, we recognize that there are a number of developmental issues in adolescence, such as learning autonomy and control and shifting dependency from parents to peers which makes this an important time to provide educational opportunities with respect to non-violent relationships.”

Over the next few days and weeks, ASPIRE with the support of its partners, will host a series of interventions including Public Service Announcements on Television and Community Outreach through the hosting of Creative Arts Workshops for Youth using educative drama approaches. This project which will have national reach is anchored in the Ministry of National Security, CSP Communities of Farm Road St. Joseph and Mt. Dor.

Please click here to access the full remarks which include reference to results of research in Trinidad and Tobago on domestic violence and related offenses conducted over the period 2001-2011.

Please click here for remarks delivered by the UN Women Programme Specialist, Gabrielle Henderson.

For further information please contact ASPIRE at [ Click to reveal ].