Speak Up, Speak Out! Lindeners marched against violence against women
DPI, GUYANA, Saturday, 21 April 2018
Beginning at the Bayroc Community Centre ground and culminating at the Linden/Georgetown Bus Park, led by the former Linden Town Week delegates, and representatives of the Ministry of Social Protection and the Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC) the ‘Speak Out, Speak Up’ march in the mining town on Saturday also attracted a number of youth groups.
Organised by the Ministry of Social Protection in partnership with the Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes, and the Linden Town Week Secretariat, the participants all marched to the music and recorded voices of Lindeners who stand against the acts of violence against women and girls.
“This march is in support of the violence against women movement, but not only in Linden because we’ve had some issues, but across Guyana because there has been an increase in women being killed and harassed because of various issues, and so today we want to walk against that violence in Linden and we’re hoping to make linden a town that’s going to be violent free as it relates to women and girls” Her Worship the Mayor Waneka Arrindell relayed to the Department of Public Information (DPI.)
“Today we say Linden will not tolerate it, we will band together we will look out for our friends, our neighbours, our children and not just ourselves. We will report and prosecute any acts of violence against our women no matter how small until our women can walk on the streets and live without fear,” the Mayor said to the participant at the culmination of the march.
“I was told that this happens all the time, so, what’s the fuss? Forget it and move but when the righteous reign the people rejoice and every evil deed that’s sent out over the lives of our residents of Linden we will not stand by we will not sit down, we will stand, we will fight! the law is there to deal with the lawless!” she added.
To the men that joined the female counterparts in the march, Arrindell said, “the men who walked with us men of purpose, men of divine intervention, this is the history Linden wants to bring forth when our men are willing to stand with us, to stand by our side, protecting the women of this town.”
Equally, the March was in protest of the sexual assault, which reportedly perpetrated against one of the contestants of the Miss Linden Town Week Pageant by a prominent businessman.
The incident reportedly occurred during early March, while three of the delegates were visiting the premises of the businessman seeking sponsorship to facilitate their participation in the now-cancelled pageant.
Mayor Arrindell reflecting on the issue said, “Our most precious resource is our human resource and we have got to be the ones who protect it. To the team of women who stand and the ones that have already joined us in a group called ‘Fix Her Crown’ where women pledge to work with women and children to protect them to teach them not for fame and not for favours but just because we all need a hand to help us. I can reassure you that the loyalty of this council remains unmovable, our interest is the residents of this town. We’ve been able to form relationships with major agencies in and out of pageantry who are willing to work with us to protect our women and children.”
“I am your Mayor and Linden will lead this country and the rest of the World by being an example because Linden has fought against injustice, oppression… to the brave women I thank you all we have reasons to be proud let us walk with our heads held high and I promise you next year pageant will be bigger and better,” she added.
The march and the now-cancelled Linden Town Week Pageant formed part of the over 60 events and activities that were planned for the 10 days of celebration of the town’s 48th anniversary. The Linden Town Week calendar of activities, which commenced on April 21, also include a day tour to Rockstone, Wisroc Village Day, Debating and Spelling Bee competitions and a Senior Citizen Luncheon. The town week activities are being celebrated under the theme, “Celebrating Culture, Talent, Creativity, in a clean green 2018.”
Violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights and is rooted in gender-based discrimination, social norms and gender stereotypes that continue such violence. Its impact ranges from immediate to long-term multiple physical, sexual and mental consequences for women and girls, including death. Given the devastating effect violence has on women, efforts have mainly focused on responses and services for survivors. However, the best way to end violence against women and girls is to prevent it from happening in the first place by addressing its root and structural causes – (United Nations Women – UN WOMEN Organisation)
By: Stephon Gabriel