Today GEPAN joins others worldwide to observe International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Violence against women is still entrenched in the psyche of our Guyanese society in which verbal, emotional and physical abuse continue to be rampant. We recognise that abuse in its varying forms is often condoned by both men and women including within family circles, suggesting that many are still unaware of its negative impact on human development and progress.
Violence against women is not limited to impoverished communities but is a widespread scourge which infiltrates all social layers of society, infecting from the poorest to the wealthiest with its devastating effects.
Its grip on Guyana and countries across the globe is a reflection of the age-old discrimination imposed upon women, setting out to diminish their human rights in support of systems of inequalities erected throughout time in predominantly patriarchal societies.
For this reason, the fight against violence and discrimination against women must be prioritized by the Government of Guyana, civil society and local actors, and incarnated through sustainable policy-making in national institutions, transcending all sectors of development.
Education remains the key to positive mentality shifts, and the responsibility to act is incumbent upon families who must empower future generations against discrimination in its most subtle and passive forms, threats of violence and abuse. A positive mentality shift commences with every girl and every boy.
The general effects of abuse and discrimination will continue in its pursuit to hamper Guyana’s development as long as we maintain the complacent attitudes which reduce our womenfolk to second class citizens, drowning out their voices into the woeful silence of resignation.