Castries, Saint Lucia, – May 31, 2016– In light of accusations of sexual assault made by the Independent Candidate for Micoud North, Jeannine Compton-Antoine, against former Agriculture Minister Ezechiel Joseph on Sunday May 29, 2016, Speak Out St. Lucia (S.O.S.) contends that it is every victim’s right to speak out in their own time regardless of the persons involved.

This incident highlights the need for issues affecting women to be placed at the top of the agenda of the candidates now vying to form the next government. The public must be assured that governments will have zero tolerance for crimes against women, and there should be no hesitation to advance the cause for women’s issues. Additionally, there should be absolutely no fear or reservation by victims to tell their stories.

It must be noted that currently we have an unprecedented number of seven women vying for political office who have not seized the opportunity to champion the cause for women. S.O.S. notes that throughout this political campaign there has been little to no attempt, save for innuendos and accusations, to put women’s issues at the top of the development agenda.

It is unfortunate that neither the Five-Point Plan nor the Fifteen Pledges address women’s and children’s issues which are extremely critical at this time.

S.O.S. appeals to all Saint Lucians to put an end to victim bashing, and demands that women’s issues form part of the continuous debate and discussion by our representatives.

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