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Activism through art

Art project participants.

The Action Art Project was hosted by the Institute for Gender and Development Studies: Nita Barrow Unit on November 29, in the Arts Lecture Theatre of the Cave Hill Campus.

The IGDS:NBU joined its national, regional and global partners in observing 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. This event formed part of the national calendar of activities for the 16-day campaign.

In its statement to commemorate 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence the IGDS:NBU noted that “the killing of women by their intimate partners remains an ongoing violation of the human rights of women across the region with domestic violence accounting for between 30 to 50 per cent of all murders in many Caribbean countries”.

“In addition,” it said, “women are the overwhelming majority of victims in cases of intimate partner homicides. Ending gender-based violence requires the elimination of all forms of violence in society and ongoing commitment to creating communities which foster gender equality.”

The evening featured a documentary on intimate partner violence and HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean as well as performances by the League of Extraordinary Poets and students and staff of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus. Attendees also had an opportunity to learn about research on intimate partner violence in an informal way and to confront some of the myths and misconceptions about domestic violence.

Marlene Hewitt of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados shared some of her thoughts on the issue during the talk back session.

“As someone who has been doing anti-violence work for over 30 years,” Hewitt said, “I am really excited to see so many young people here. It gives me hope that many more will come on board to continue the fight. The same problems of domestic violence and violence against women which women’s organisations started working against 30 years ago are still here today.”

The fact that young people actively participated in this event is a clear indication that GBV is a problem that occurs across generations; therefore, efforts to combat GBV must take place on multiple levels.

“The IGDS:NBU was part of the national review committee on domestic violence. Coming out of that process we recognised the need to continue to raise awareness of how violence against women is enabled by the larger societal context of gender inequality. The Action Art Project was conceptualized as a means of using the arts to broaden the conversation and to think through strategies for transformation that could have a wider reach,” said Dr. Charmaine Crawford, Acting Head of the IGDS:NBU.

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