On the occasion Saturday of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Saint Lucia’s Department of Gender Affairs has reiterated its commitment to preventing all forms of violence against women and girls.
“We will never forget the women and girls who have died through gender-based violence,” a Department release declared.
The release also noted that violence against women is a human rights violation.
The United Nations says violence against women and girls remains a pervasive problem worldwide.
According to the organisation, women’s rights activists have observed 25 November as a day against gender-based violence since 1981.
They selected the date to honour the Mirabal sisters.
The three siblings were Dominican Republic political activists murdered in 1960 by order of the country’s ruler, Rafael Trujillo.
On 7 February 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution officially designating 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
With the resolution’s adoption, the UN invited governments, international organizations, and NGOs to join in organising activities to raise public awareness of the issue every year on that date.
Last year, the Saint Lucia parliament passed groundbreaking domestic violence legislation.
The gender-neutral measure broadens the definition of domestic violence to include psychological abuse, coercion, molestation, and arbitrary deprivation of liberty or forced confinement.
The legislation also speaks to economic abuse, intimidation, harassment, stalking, and cyber-stalking and asserts that there can be sexual abuse in a marital relationship.
In addition, it broadens the scope for police action in response to domestic violence, reducing the onus on victims to press charges.