16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence

By William Ysaguirre
Freelance Reporter

“Leave No one Behind – End Violence against Women and Girls is the theme of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence, which the National Women’s Commission launched at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City on Thursday afternoon, November 23.
The NWC has taken its lead from the international campaign begun by the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, which chose the International Day against Violence against Women on November 25 and the International Human Rights Day, on December 10. The idea is to symbolically link violence against women as a violation of human rights. World AIDS Day on December 1 also falls within the 16-day period.
The campaign aims to raising awareness about gender-based violence, as a human rights, as a way to galvanize support to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. Through this show of solidarity, women around the world seek to bring pressure governments to make good on their promises made to eliminate violence against women, in keeping with the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women CEDAW (1993)

Belize was a signatory to the Beijing Declaration of 1995, and the National Women’s Commission (NWC), in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, is leading the fight against Gender-Based Violence, with a National Gender-Based Violence Plan of Action 2017-2020.

Over the next 16 days, the Women’s Department will host a number of activities to liberate women, such as “Free Pap Smear and Breast check campaign” in Caye Cauker on Friday, November 24, for early detection of two of the more common forms of cancer in women. An Awareness Day Campaign against Gender-Based Violence” will also be held at Central Park in Corozal Town, and at Queen Elizabeth Park, Orange Walk Town while in the Belize Red Cross will conduct a training session for Orange Walk Community Nursing Aides to sensitize them to detect signs of Domestic Abuse/Violence. Similar sensitization about Gender- Based Violence will also be held all day for the students and staff of the Belize High School of Agriculture, Orange Walk Technical High School, Bishop Martin High School, New Hope High School, Orange Walk ITVET and Muffles Junior College.

The Women’s Department will also be organizing similar public activities to raise public awareness in Dangriga in front of COURTS and at Punta Gorda Central Park.

Female students and faculty of University of Belize will continue their campaign and awareness walk against street harassment with their second, annual “Don’t Call Me Baby!” walk, which will begin from UB’s Faculty of Education and Arts in West Landivar, Belize City. All are invited.
The Belize Cancer Society will host a lunch for women to learn about Gender-Based Violence and its related issues from Cancer Survivors”; while PETAL (Promoting Empowerment ThroughAwareness for Les/Bi Women will host a forum: “A Conversation” for Women Only at the Belize City ITVET Saturday afternoon.

Virtuous Women of the Cayo District will host a Gender-Based Violence Training” at Western Traders Imports, while the Corozal District Gender-Based Violence Committee has organized a one-day retreat on Saturday and a church service on Sunday.
The girls of Edward P. Yorke High School will receive counselling about Healthy Decision Making – Stay/ Talk/Go on Monday, November 27. The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA is also organizing a talk on “Violence against Women and Girls & Cyber Violence”.

Romantica FM 102.5, Corozal Town will host a radio Talk Show discussing “16 Days Campaign & Gender-Based Violence response” on Monday, 9:00 am – 10:00 am. ” The Belize Police Department Drama Group, will also perform a drama presentations on Domestic Violence for high schools in the Corozal and Orange Walk districts. The group will also travel to the Cayo district to do the same presentation to San Ignacio high schools on World AIDS Day, and for high schools in Punta Gorda on Monday, December 4 and at the Delille Academy and Stann Creek Ecumenical High School on Tuesday, December 5, and at Mopan Technical High School on Thursday, December 7, and at Pallotti, Nazarene and Edward P.Yorke High Schools on Friday, December 8. The group will also perform at Maud Williams and Gwen Lizarraga High Schools and Wesley College on Monday, December 11.

The YWCA will also collaborate with the Ministry of Health and The National AIDS Commission to visit barbershops and beauty salons to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS.
Educational activities will also be organized: “Footsteps on the ground” at Belize Rural High School, Double Head Cabbage and a Church Service organized by the Mothers’ Union of the Anglican Diocese of Belize at St. John’s Cathedral, Belize City.
Youth Enhancement Services Center for Teenage Mothers, will also conduct training on Sexual Violence and Parenting.
Similar training activities to raise awareness will continue at the George Price Centre and Our Lady of Guadalupe High School in Belmopan.

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