LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time to make The Bahamas safe again, for women and children!

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time to make The Bahamas safe again, for women and children!

Dear Editor,

“The world obviously needs to change… if we can’t protect our innocent women and children, then we have a serious problem.” – Mark Wahlberg

Violence against women and children remains a profound problem and addressing it is one of the greatest challenges faced by survivors and families.

According to the World Health Organization, “ 1 in 3 women suffer violence within their lifetime.” Mainly in Low-and-Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), including areas with social and economic inequality which amplifies this vulnerability. Reportedly, “1 in 5 women and 1 in 13 men report having been sexually abused as a child aged 0-17 years.”

The reality is we might never know the real number of these crimes due to victims’ reluctance to report. Even worse, victims who report violence are alienated and stigmatized by their families and communities.

As such, the opening of Parliament provides an opportunity for key legislation and policies to be discussed and decided upon. I expect more proactive policies that will positively impact the lives and well-being of the most vulnerable community.

The protection of women and children is an essential public health policy goal and should be given prominence.

It is time the government fully funds a comprehensive prevention plan that comprises sexual prevention education, training, and research.

The Bahamas recently hosted the 13th annual meeting of Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers (WAMM), whose discussions focused on the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment for sustainable development.

While this meeting was a great step in the right direction, still not enough is being done to ensure the safety of our women and children.

We are tired of being treated as invisible and dispensable; we call upon the government to give us the priority that we deserve.

Written by: Shervonne Hollis – Co-Founder, Save Our Children Alliance and advocate