A Life Free of Violence – it’s Everyone’s Right
Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Statement of United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, UN Women, UNFPA, ILO, PAHO and UNDP
Violence is the most egregious form of discrimination society can perpetuate. Sexual violence is at no time a matter to be treated lightly – not as part of a rumour mill, not as a casual aside, and never for the sake of jokes and amusement.
The Resident Coordinator’s Office for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean, UN Women, UNFPA, ILO, PAHO and UNDP register their concern over a recent article in the Nation’s edition “Saturday Sun” (21st May 2016) entitled “‘Gentleman’ gets taste of male medicine” which purports to make light of an alleged sexual assault against a lesbian woman.
The UN has been proud to work with the media leaders in the country, supporting their efforts to shape social change and perception. The media plays a fundamental role as an opinion shaper and influencer for societal change. With this role comes a responsibility to uphold the human rights of all its citizens as enshrined in its national legislation and the explicit commitments the Government of Barbados has made in the international arena, as signatory to international conventions to prevent all forms of violence against all groups and individuals. The UN will continue to work with national newspapers and others in the media towards this important goal.
To make light of an alleged act of sexual violence is to do further harm to anyone who has been a victim of sexual violence directly or indirectly. It turns one of the most dehumanising forms of violence into something “acceptable” and implies impunity for those who have perpetrated these acts of violence, rather than prosecution and punishment. Too often when violence happens against women, or members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual and Intersexed (LGBTI) community, the focus of the media becomes on the morality of the victims and not that of the perpetrator.
Sexual orientation, sex, race, physical ability, age - none of these factors set apart any individual to be violated.
It is a shared responsibility of society in speaking out against all forms of violence, reporting such to the authorities for prosecution, seeing that the necessary support and justice is provided to victims and working to realise societies where everyone is able to live lives free of violence. That is the right of all Barbadians and one which the UN is proud to work with the Media, National authorities, Social Partners, NGOs, Academia, Churches and leaders to uphold.
For further information, please contact:
UN Women Multi-Country Office - Caribbean
UN House, Marine Gardens
Hastings Christ Church, Barbados.
Tel: +1 246 467 6000 Ext 6124
Fax: +1 246 437 6596