New Years Resolution: Stop Killing Us!

Over 10 women were gruesomely murdered in Jamaica since the beginning of December 2016.

JCW+ is still trying to understand the reasons for taking the lives of women as we strongly believe that there is no good enough reason to justify nor excuse such an inhumane act. By no means is the decision to kill a form of misstep. It may temporarily resolve the issues of the murderer, but however, it affects the lives of others in a negative, mournful way, or simply is an inevitable outcome given the circumstances of life. As much as I despise the the trajectory of life at times, it serves as an illustration wherein each ill fate made sense within the context of someone else’s individual life story. Regardless of how much we hate it, death serves a purpose – whether it be enhancing conflict or finish a life long trial.

The problem is however twofold: the death of women has become such norm and so overused in recent memory, the headlines are disturbing and has contributed to the shock value where the question is asked “how can a man say he loves a women and yet then kills her?” It hurts though because instead of taking the time to construct logical investigations and case development, the law enforcement officers tend to be the ones killing us women is such disturbed style. Within recent weeks these unnecessary, lazy, often brutal deaths, have all been inflicted upon minorities and communities that are usually a safe haven.

This killing of our women is not new factor in society it has now become rampant following the recent attacks on children – #KillOurWomen is now trending! There are reports of beheading, stabbing, execution style murders among others. These have captured our minds in a seemingly inescapable way. The undeniable fact that women do not have anywhere near as many voices as men do in the media and society, and are constantly killed, tortured, or marginalized because of whatever power they possess is truly something that needs to be addressed. Violence against our women and girls keep happening due to these disparities.

Whatever the intentions of the killers were, whether or not you believe the truth that women are woefully underrepresented in media but scandalized and are frequently the ones to suffer brutal disservice, you can’t deny the pandemic of women who have died for no justifiable reason. It’s the facts. You can’t.

Even though I stopped watching the news and reading the papers lately the air-play circulation and social media presentations of cruel and brutal violation of human rights portrayed against women has caused me to give some attention to it. Because of the marginalization of women due to gender standards, we are supposed to be different than men- physically weak and submissive. Us women are as equal and important as men to the growth and sustainability of our Jamaica. If these deaths were actually done by men, us women NEED to amplify our voices and demand that men join us in ending violence instead of perpetuating violence against us women. Partnership is just one the of ways for us to change in our world without resorting to a death. A woman’s right to life should not be determined by the hands of anyone but the Supreme Being. Especially in a situations where the female has ended a relationship to move on with their life. Although it may be an emotional time for both of you, there are effective means such as counseling, to enable mutually benefiting  departure. The is no Return If Possible button to life.

Are we to believe that by killing women, does not matter nor impacts our society negatively? Can you comprehend just how rare and important it is to preserve the lives of the givers of life? Women are the saviors and replenishes the earth, endlessly kind hearted and unquestionably good, the epitome of beauty, grace and bravery — women are the reason we are ALL here, and ultimately her existence, her sacrifice, was only important with regard to saving her male partner. We have made ourselves so unimportant to the grand finale of life, that you men act as if you can move on without her. She was expendable but only in her own show until you decided you have had enough.

It’s horrifying. It’s exhausting. Its sickening. I’m so tired of this!!

Women are not property. We do not exist to die for, well, some reason, we have not decided yet. Media caters to specifically young women in the midst of forming their sense in life. What will happen to these girls when they see all the women around them dying as if it were some sort of a fashion show? How exactly will that empower them. It never has and NEVER will! FYI its not fun to kill women for whatever reason you may feel. It does not enhance anything whatsoever especially NOT YOU!

We are not asking you to pander to or make fatal sacrifices, however we want to creative an impact to save the lives of women. What I’m insisting is that every decision we make i our lives be thoroughly thought-out and be vital somehow to our growth and development. Our choices don’t exist in a vacuum! Hold yourselves accountable. Look at the world outside the confines of your challenges. It is our responsibility to represent women, and as humans we should know firsthand how much media is capable of influencing, shaping, inspiring; how desperately the deaths of women and girls need representation.

So let us consider every angle. Educate ourselves. Write more, amplify our voices more, encourage more meaningful engagement of women in addressing our needs, let us get some positive results.

In 2017, we are telling you to Stop Killing Us! We deserve better, you should know better, and there’s no excuse anymore.

 

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World AIDS Day Carnival

On December 1,  AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Jamaica in collaboration with the National Family Planning Board (NFPB) and The ASHE Company strengthened by a consortium of NGOs involved within the HIV response in Jamaica, hosted a carnival style road march. That event I just had to attend – on behalf of JCW+ of course 🙂

The march which lasted a little over two hours and saw hundreds of patrons in attendance and begun at the transport terminus in Cross Roads leading all the way to St. William Grant Park in Downtown, Kingston. There were students from schools within the corporate area such as Wolmer’s Girls High School; and even expanded to include those from rural areas such as Morant Bay High School and Seaforth High School – both in St. Thomas, just to name a few. The march also included Conroy Wilson, Executive Director at The ASHE Company; Dr. Chevannes- Vogel , Executive Director at NFPB and Dr. Nkhensani Mathabathe, UNAIDS Country Director for Jamaica, among other persons of stature.

The extravaganza consisted of a marching band and cheerleaders to lead while patrons carried a huge banner to declare the day and our message. The dancers came out in full swing and energized the crowd to move as the music from the Zoukie flatbed trucks was quite electrifying! Let me just say I have two left feet but I did move as the shock wave took over the entire streets – as the saying goes “everybody can dance but ah nuh everybody dancer”. We ALL danced. Catchy dance moves such as breadfruit, save yu self, yeng yeng, among others were taught to those with a desire and while the volunteers sought to hydrate the crowd by distributing water along the way for drinking purposes, it almost turned into a water party as water was being sprayed all over the crowd.

Along the way commuters, passerby and those standing in awe were engaged in conversation and given tops to join the festivity of commemorating love, support and compassion for those with living with and affected by HIV as we seek to halt, reverse and prevent the spread of HIV.

Upon arrival at the St. William Grant Park the marchers were welcomed by Johnny Daley who had been hosting the all day long health fair as he handed over to Emprezz Golding and the Talk Up Youts Crew, who conducted condom challenges for those who can correctly put on a male and insert a female condom. And of course the challenge winners were awarded prizes.

A chill room was available for the youths with a desire to know more about safe sex and condom usage; live coverage was done by RJR communication groups; and mostly basic health checks such as HIV and syphilis testing, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc., were provided for FREE as well self care in the form of hair-do, mani-pedi by volunteers.

Performances to further energize the crowd was done by Devin Di Dakta and T.I.F.A.

Lots to update you on! But despite all the planning and funding pumped into the activity, the success of the march highly depended on the mobilization of patrons from the partners to include but not limited to, The Jamaica Community of Positive Women (JCW+), EVE for Life Jamaica, Family Planning Association of Jamaica (FamPlan), the Ministry of Education, Parent Teacher Association of Jamaica and the commuters that decided on the spur of the moment to grab a t-shirt and join the march for the cause.

 

World AIDS Day march Hands Up For #HIVprevention.

Push: On Your Face Or On Your Feet?

As we get ready to push our advocacy into full swing for the 16 days of activism, will we be falling on our face or landing on our feet?

Violence greatly impacts the lives of everyone and has destructive capabilities. Women and girls however, are more highly affected as we are more prone to sexual violence, physical and financial violence and in light of this we are often times referred to as the ‘weaker sex’. With all evidence pointing towards our susceptibility and vulnerability towards violence, women still remain systematically marginalized in efforts at all levels to prevent, resolve and recover from the abuse we encounter or witness. Also our participation in peace, justice, gender equity and security processes and institutions remains rather limited.

In an effort to address this, the Jamaica Community of Positive Women will embarked on a journey on the 16 Days of Activism towards sharing our hope of ending all forms of violence against women and their children. Throughout this journey we seek to utilize our empowered women to uphold their rights – and those of other women who have not yet arrived – to never tolerate nor excuse violence perpetuated against them. The women are also provided opportunities to identify their roles and responsibilities in ensuring peace, justice and security for all women and by extension the general population.

Since the adaption of the international campaign from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991, there has been visible achievements. Twenty two years after the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has a ratio of 64% female parliamentarians, the highest in the world.

The impact on women’s lives and their formal role in the decision making process has however, been sporadic; and while there has been significant progress in women’s participation in the advocacy movement to end violence against women overall, women represented less than 10% of persons involved. An Oxfam study of 23 known Afghanistan peace talks between 2005 and 2014, for example, found that during talks between the international community and the Taliban, not a single Afghan woman was involved. Women remain excluded even where evidence has shown that patriarchy efforts to find solutions or justify violent behaviors have failed for decades.

At various level women’s participation continues to be limited or rendered less meaningful by multiple factors to include poverty, social and economic discrimination and inequality as well as lack of technical capacity which is often times caused by the lack of access to education. Threats and acts of violence caused by political marginalization or manipulation contributes to the lacking in participation and recognition of women’s participation.

How do we address these damaging issues around the world especially with no transparency and political accountability for the actions of government’s inconsistency, and the dire need for greater efforts are needed to prevent gender-based violence?

#WhatWomenWant

Roja Vida

For a couple of weeks now, I have been collaborating with the campaign #WhatWomenWant. I tweet and retweet many stuff, but never posted an original message. During this days I have been reading “What Women Want” so much that I actually start thinking, what do I want? Like, what do I really want? It was hard to think about it, because sometimes you have in your mind a lot of recycled statements and slogans that you just forget about what you want for you. But this last weeks I have been so full of the “High Level Meeting”, media, university, elections, work and economic troubles, that it was impossible to think about what I really want, and this is it:

What I want is the guarantee that I will be in peace, I want mental health. I want to feel that this is not the wrong decade to be a…

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