CARICOM workshops to promote ending Gender-Based Violence in Caribbean Schools moves on to Guyana

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The second of five country-workshops under the theme, “Rethinking Masculinity, Understanding Gender Equality As A Means of Ending Gender-Based Violence in Caribbean Schools” opened on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at Duke Lodge, Georgetown, Guyana.

The two-day workshop is spearheaded by the CARICOM Secretariat with support from the European Union 10th EDF Crime and Security CARIFORUM Project .

The workshop seeks to address major concerns including the normalization of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the Caribbean based on the findings of a study commissioned by the CARICOM Secretariat in 2012 in five CARICOM States; Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. One thousand students aged 15-21, along with their parents and teachers formed part of the regional survey that culminated with the Youth, Masculinity and Violence Report.

The Guyana workshop, which follows the Trinidad and Tobago leg held earlier this week, is being facilitated by Gender and Education Consultant, Professor Barbara Bailey, and Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Peter D. Weller.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop in Guyana, Deputy Programme-Manager, Gender and Development, at the CARICOM Secretariat, Ms. Ann-Marie Williams said: “Teachers should be educated as to the important role they [Teachers] play, not only in prevention of Gender-Based Violence, but also in passing on positive messages to students across the curriculum, to students that violence is wrong, and that masculinity can also be rooted in peace.” She added that; “Although Sport is largely about competition and winning, male students saw alternative messages in Sport such as, participation, building teamwork, and promoting cooperation.”

Deputy Director of Social Services, Ms. Abike Samuels stated that; “In Guyana, deaths attributable to Domestic Violence seem to be escalating. Unfortunately, Guyana is no exception to this scourge and we must add to the victims of GBV, marginalised persons which include our Indigenous persons and also persons who are differently-able. As an issue of growing international concern, this must be addressed from a Rights-based approach.”

Ms. Samuels added that in changing the way we view masculinity in Guyana, first, we must undertake the three vital tasks of raising awareness of the harms of the man box which is a system of social governance in which men have power and authority over women, address how masculinity contributes to sexism and male privilege in society. Secondly, we must confront traditional masculine ideals and try to reduce the impact of the negative ones in society – engage men and boys in critical conversation about manhood, and encouraging them to embrace their identities; and thirdly, promote healthy ethical alternatives to traditional masculine ideals.

The United Nations defines Domestic Violence as a pattern of abusive behaviour in any relationship that is used by one partner to maintain power and control over another intimate partner.

Manager, Gender Affairs Bureau, Mr. Adel Lilly noted that Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence continue

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to be a major challenge towards achieving Gender Equality and urged that men and boys be engaged in order to eradicate Gender-Based Violence.

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