Female genital mutilation, Slavery, trafficking, incest, rape, battery. These are just a few of the horrors many women in the world face. Today is International Day to End Violence Against Women.Let me introduce you first to two women who have told their stories. Prego and the Loon tells her story of surviving an abusive relationship. Stella Marr tells her story of being domestically trafficked in New York for 10 years on The Secret Life of a Manhattan Call Girl.
Secondly, I am asking you to share this blog post immediately. The act of spreading awareness is no small thing!
Thirdly, take your time and read these statistics. This is how real violence against women is:
Three Caribbean countries are among the top 10 for reported incidences of rape. All Caribbean countries (where comparable data is available) have higher than the global average for rape. One in three women in the Caribbean on average will experience domestic violence (UN Women Caribbean)
Nearly 20% of women in New Hampshire say they have been raped. (NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, University of New Hampshire, and state authorities, 2007)
In Seoul, Korea, 22% of adult women said they had been the victims of rape and attempted rape (UNIFEM)
In a survey in South Africa, 25% of the young men admitted to having had sex with a woman without her consent, before he was 18 years of age (Human Rights Watch)
Domestic violence is the major cause of death and disability for European women aged 16 to 44 and accounts for more death and ill-health than cancer or traffic accidents. (reported by Amnesty International)
In Barbados, a national survey of women and men aged 20 to 45 found that 33 per cent of women and 2 per cent of men reported having been sexually abused during childhood. (UNFPA)
In her message for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet calls for bold action and decisive leadership to galvanize efforts to end the pandemic of violence against women and girls.
As a future mother I am imploring us to get involved and stop being bystanders to such violence. I do not have all the answers, but please find an Agency in your area where you can volunteer or learn more. To the women who are victims, I pray that you have the courage to get up and walk away. Please revisit Prego and the Loon’s blog. See how she did it.
Please SHARE this post now! Also click to FOLLOW ISLAND VIGNETTES, leave a COMMENT or hit LIKE!
The origins of Father’s Day makes for interesting reading – if you like history at all. It was proposed long after Mother’s Day was being celebrated. The history includes tragedy, death, controversy and allegations of commercial exploitation. Yet, just about 100 years later, here I am saying “Thank You” to a father who has gone above and beyond in raising his two children. In my very humble opinion my dad would make an excellent author. He is an unending reservoir of wisdom, humour and has a knack for relating historic events in a way that immediately captures your imagination. His has been a life of sacrifice to ensure we had everything we needed, even at great personal cost to himself. He was able to not only be my father but also my best friend. So today like millions everywhere, I just want to say “Thank you” to my daddy for every single moment spent with me, every smile he placed on my face, every tear of frustration I cried when disciplined (which wasn’t too often) every arguement we had and every hug we shared (despite my efforts to avoid them after turning 13!). We love you daddy. From J&O.
Today April 22nd is designated International Mother Earth Day. Earth Day has been celebrated annually since 1969 and is usually observed by events designed to increase awareness of the earth’s natural environment. Throughout the world thousands of persons volunteer their time, energy and efforts to projects such as tree planting and beach cleanups to name a few. The observance however is not without its critics, who see it as only another opportunity to celebrate the marginalisation of environmental issues in the world agenda and for businesses to promote “green” products, without necessarily caring about the real impact of our individual actions on nature.
For approximately 500 persons in Jamaica, it was an opportunity to participate in Forest Trek 2012, organised by the Forestry Department. I was one of the 500, along with eight other friends who chose to rise out of bed by 5:00am, stretch, load up and embark on a 7km journey into the Blue Mountains with the aim of planting a tree in the rare, high elevation botanic garden, located some 4800-5200 ft above sea level – Cinchona Gardens. It is the only one of its kind in the Caribbean. Having done this walk some 14 years ago, I could not help feeling nostalgic as I retraced my footsteps.
The day was perfect for such an endeavour and allowed for clear, panoramic views of steep plunging mountainsides dotted with homes, vegetable gardens and grazing animals in some of the most unlikely places. Some perched at seemingly precarious angles into the mountainside or almost hidden in the deep valleys – all a testament to human skill in building. Pine trees soared to heights of 30 metres and more, rivers and streams sounded their voice from hidden locations, birds called to us from their perches and exotic flowers greeted us along the pathways. An easy camaraderie and chatter amongst us would often wane as we were overcome by the beauty of it all. Passing through Clydesdale Estate – one of the first to plant coffee commercially in Jamaica – allowed for a few quick photos of the old water wheel and coffee mill. The Estate is over 200 years old and is now the largest forest reserve in Jamaica. Few words can descibe the beauty of Cinchona Gardens, with its soft grass, thousands of flowers, hidden pathways & trails and plunging views. My vocabulary is unable to do it justice. Hopefully my photos will.
I felt such a sense of accomplishment after digging a hole and placing my tree in its new home. A small action on my part, but one which I know will be of immense benefit in the future. A special thank you to those who shared this journey with me – Irina, Delphine, Shalini, Denton, Wendy, Erin, Marije & Daan. Happy Earth Day. Enjoy the photos.