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Rising against violence

by Latoya Burnham

billionwomenmarchThey sang, they held hands, and they danced. The women of Barbados – and a few men too – turned up in their numbers this morning to celebrate the world’s love and anti-domestic violence day.

Themed One Billion Rising around the world, today marked the United Nation’s international day to protest violence against women, and call for an end to physical and sexual violence against women and girls.

It was one event of hundreds taking place around the world today, and included addresses from Liesel Daisley of the SAVE Foundation, Joan French of UN Women and Marilyn Rice-Bowen of the National Organisation of Women.

Daisley reminded the women that if they or anyone they knew was affected by domestic violence to seek SAVE’s assistance.

“I would like to thank Pia James for bringing us all together here today to have this event which is very significant. It is one of the first in Barbados and Pia, I take this opportunity to applaud you for your bravery and courage in bringing us all together,” she said.

Meanwhile, French told the attendees they were part of the “vibrant revolution” occurring around the world in over 200 countries.

“This is for the women whose partners beat them up after they get drunk on a Friday night having drinks with the boys. This is for the girls whose uncles and other relatives take advantage of their childhood for sex and leave them with psychological damage for the rest of their lives.

“This is for the school girls who cannot walk freely either on the way to school or in school without being harassed by boys who make them feel unless they give sex they cannot be loved.

“This is for the babies who are taken advantage of and sometimes raped by men who are ill, who are under the impression that if they have sex with a virgin they can be cured,” she said.

Rice-Bowen in her comments challenged attendees to let the dialogue in their offices, homes, church and other social locations be on violence against women.

“To our female candidates who have taken time off today from campaigning, the conversation must continue … denounce violence against women.

“We are in the height of General Elections, women engage your candidates on the subject of violence against women, let the conversation continue,” challenged Rice-Bowen.

Several Democratic Labour Party candidates, including Mara Thompson, Irene Sandiford-Garner, and Verla DePeiza, entertainers Mikey and TC, and leaders from a number of women’s organisations were there today dancing along to the music as young girls performed the Break the Chain dance.

The midday event also saw performances from spoken word artist Adrian Green, and singers Marisa Lindsay, Rhesa Garnes and Mandy Cummins who sang I’m Every Woman and had almost every woman and man at the event singing along with them.

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