With less than a month until we RISE for justice, V-Activists and Global Coordinators worldwide are writing petitions on Change.org to garner support for their visions of justice. We encourage you to read how women around the world are confronting injustices in their community, support these causes by signing the petition, and multiply your impact by sharing them on Facebook and Twitter.
One Billion Rising for Justice is calling on the leaders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to implement and/or amend marital rape laws and build more safe spaces/shelters (1 per parish).
Violence Against Women (VAW) remains one of the most pervasive global human rights issues of our time. According to the World Health Organization, 35% of women worldwide have experienced gender-based violence in their lifetimes (2013). These human rights violations also run rampant throughout the Caribbean. One in three women in the Caribbean will experience Domestic Violence and “all Caribbean countries (where comparable data is available) have higher than the global average for rape” (United Nations, Ending Violence Against Women). In response, One Billion Rising (OBR) began as a global movement to end violence against women and girls in 2013, and in 2014 a united Caribbean will join One Billion Rising for Justice, calling on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to address VAW in two distinct yet interrelated ways:
1) Consistent and just laws, with special emphasis placed on marital rape (which is often overlooked in legislation or contains exemptions which require periods of separation, etc…);
2) Adequate resources, more specifically, having the appropriate number of shelters [for victims of domestic and sexual violence] and beds available in each country to meet the population’s needs.
This petition calls on CARICOM leadership to take immediate legislative and corrective action to end VAW in the region. Rise for justice in the Caribbean by lending your voice to this petition. Be part of this Caribbean coalition for catalytic change!
In calling on CARICOM to enact and enforce consist laws, we seek to make all marital rape acknowledged and punishable by law. For example, of the 15 CARICOM nations, only 4 (i.e., Belize, Dominica, Grenada, and Guyana) have criminalized marital rape without exemptions. Another 10 (i.e., Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago) have only partially addressed marital rape, with most of these countries requiring a period of separation or a known STD before criminalizing, and 1 country (i.e., Haiti) has no law on the books at all. One woman’s story of in Barbados illustrates why marital rape laws throughout the Caribbean need to be changed.
After a night of being beaten and raped by her estranged husband, this victim – a woman living in Barbados – called the police to report the heinous crime. Her reporting experience and sad reality follows:
“I called the police. As I recounted the events of the night, what I recall most of this dialogue, was that it seemed very important to the police that I understand that I was not ‘raped’. Rape, two officers, made clear for me that morning, could not take place between a man and a wife, and unless they were separated a period of one year (it was seven months) and therefore legally separated, rape did not exist. As it were, we were still man and wife” (Barbados Free Press, 2012).
This blatant violation of Caribbean women cannot continue. Sign this petition to call for all marital rape to be punishable by law across the Caribbean.
While changing legislation is an important part of ending gender-based violence, Caribbean victims/survivors also require resources to protect them once they have been victimized. Shelters (for victims/survivors of domestic and sexual violence) are of the utmost importance. These shelters offer victims/survivors and their children a place to escape abuse and brutality. Unfortunately in most Caribbean countries there are too few shelters and too few beds.
CARICOM nations’ populations range from approximately 5,000 persons in Montserrat to 10 million persons in Haiti. The majority of our countries have populations between 100,000 and 500,000, yet, 12 of the 15 CARICOM countries have either no shelter or one providing around 20 beds for an entire island. Studies show victim-reporting increases when shelters are made available. Studies also show that without these shelters women and their children remain in grave danger, too often staying in abusive and life threatening situations.
Sign this petition to urge CARICOM leaders to provide a shelter in each parish! Sign this petition to RISE for justice in the Caribbean!
Take the island of Jamaica for example; with a population of 2.9 million people, and approximately 1.4 million women, there is only one shelter. This sole shelter cannot possibly meet the country’s demand. According to a Childhood and Intimate Partner Violence study conducted in 2008, 17% of (approximately 238,000) Jamaican women have reported being victims of Domestic Violence. With such great demand this one shelter will not suffice. The shelter houses 12 people who can only stay for short periods of time (somewhere around 10 days). No wonder domestic violence continues to skyrocket in Jamaica. Jamaica has 13 parishes; therefore the country needs at least 13 shelters (one in each parish). Let us Rise to make this possible in Jamaica and around the Caribbean!
If victims/survivors have nowhere to turn or no safe haven for themselves and their children, they often remain in danger and place themselves and their children at greater risk.
To Rise for justice we call on CARICOM leaders to build more shelters for victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence across the Caribbean. Standing together we insist that each nation provide enough beds for women and their children – no less than one shelter per parish! Sign this petition to call for greater protection against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Fifteen member states comprise the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Established in 1973 CARICOM’s mission is: “to provide dynamic leadership and service, in partnership with Community institutions and Groups, toward the attainment of a viable, internationally competitive and sustainable Community, with improved quality of life for all.” However, with Violence Against Women still running rampant throughout CARICOM nations this mission of “improved quality of life for all” is not being achieved. Therefore, we ask you to Rise and hold our leaders accountable. Sign this petition demanding updated legislation, which criminalizes all marital rape and calls for an appropriate number of shelters -at least one per parish -, in all 15 CARICOM countries.
Rise with the Caribbean by signing this petition. Let’s Rise and not stop Rising! Let’s blow the lid off the old story. Join a global Caribbean effort by signing this petition to change marital rape laws and build more safe space/shelters. Thank you!
Below is a list of current shelter in the area by country: