16 Days of Activism: “We need to take a serious stance against violence” – Human Services Minister

…raises concerns amid escalating murders of women

Human Services and Social Security Minister Dr Vindhya Persaud has called for action to be taken in addressing the worrisome rate at which women of all ages are being killed in Guyana – in most instances, at the hands of people they know or live with.
The Human Services Minister has engaged ranks and senior members of that Ministry’s team from the Childcare and Protection Agency, Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Policy Unit, and Gender Affairs Bureau on Wednesday as part of the 16 Days of Activism efforts.
Throughout the session, officers of the Guyana Defence Force participated in the CAN – Community Advocates Network training – as part of sensitization and awareness efforts.

GDF ranks participating in the training (MHS&SS photo)

It has been pointed out that the recent escalation in women being killed needs to be addressed. “We’re all aware that, in the last few weeks, women of various ages have lost their lives to many persons, including at the hands of persons within their families. Domestic violence, gender-based violence, is not a new phenomenon… The important thing is: ‘What are we going to do about it?’, because we cannot continue to remain an onlooker without exercising our personal or professional responsibility to confront, address, and eradicate violence where it exists,” Dr Persaud relayed.
The Minister explained that in many cases, alcohol and drug abuse contribute to higher chances of abuse and violence in the home. “If we are not capable of controlling our anger, that can easily erupt into violence. We have seen it time and time again; and if that anger is accompanied by the usage of alcohol and drugs, then it becomes an even more fearful sight, especially if that person enters their home and sits with their family.”
Dr Persaud has urged the ranks to exercise their professional responsibility in bringing down the numbers of abuse and violence cases, since they are among the prime contacts for victims to reach out to. She urged,” Whichever component of the Joint Services you find yourself in, you will come into contact with violence; whether someone from the public comes to you with a complaint or someone within the Forces comes to you with a complaint… The mindset of everyone going forward needs to change. We’ve come up in a culture where we see in homes conflicts being resolved with violence.”
Relative to the male population, the issue of stigma and ostracisation in sharing their experiences is a prevalent occurrence. The Human Services Ministry has a toll-free hotline number, 914, on which persons can report instances of abuse or violence.
“We need to take a serious stance against violence. When we say zero-tolerance, it must be zero-tolerance… The Ministry of Human Services has a strong and healthy partnership with the Joint Services, because we depend heavily on all of you to carry out your duties so that we can support those with our intervention of counselling, socioeconomic support, and ensuring that there is intense awareness,” she told the ranks. (G12)