Forum focuses on ending gender-based violence

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The Ministry of Social Transformation and its partners have told the public that their involvement is necessary in eradicating gender-based violence.
The Directorate of Gender Affairs, in collaboration with the University of the West Indies Open Campus, held a forum Thursday night entitled “Love Shouldn’t Hurt”.  It was an attempt by the Ministry of Social Transformation to have open and honest dialogue with the society about the prevalence of domestic violence in Antigua & Barbuda.
Minister of Social Transformation Samantha Marshall said this exercise helps all stakeholders involved to properly formulate strategies that are inclusive of the public’s feedback.
“This is an especially important moment as it will further allow for us to dialogue directly with the community, so we can take their needs and concerns into account when we are moving forward.”
 United Nations Women Caribbean Multi Country Office representative and feature speaker Toni Brodber reminded the audience that the entire society must work together, especially outside of forums like this one.
“We have to work together to know what we are doing right, where are the gaps and how we can fill the gaps. We meet and talk to each other about topics that we all agree on, but how are we going to get those messages out to people who need it the most?” she asked.
Brodber also reflected on the death of Shareice Henry, of Perry Bay, and highlighted the chilling statistics which suggest the prevalence of gender-based violence worldwide.
 “Last year I was on a radio programme after Shareice Henry died, and there was a moment when my voice broke. I thought about how her partner, her child, her mother, her grandmother felt. At UN Women we know the statistics. One in two women worldwide is killed by someone who they love, so if that is the statistic, and we have been saying this all the time. Why isn’t it resonating?”
She reminded the attendees of the forum that changing the status quo requires action and groundwork.
“When we have these conversations, not only do we need to talk about the root causes of violence against women, let us not spend too much time on that. We need to get to the actions that are going to save women’s lives,”Brodber said.
Other notable speakers during the forum were President of Woman Against Rape Alexandrina Wong and Daryl George from the Department of Youth Affairs.
A candle light vigil was held to remember those who have lost their live to domestic and gender-based violence, to include Shareice Henry who, it is suspected,  was killed by her child’s father and Edda Schenato whose husband killed her, claiming it was an accident.

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