Survivor gives Gov’t A grade for efforts to curb domestic violence
─ during launch of “CAN” initiative
Domestic violence survivor Sabita Liddell has applauded the efforts of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security to curb gender-based violence in Guyana.
Liddell was at the time addressing attendees of the launch of the Community Advocates Network (CAN) at Parliament building, Georgetown on Wednesday.
“People must be informed; they must be informed of what is available to help them and how they can access those resources. The Minister is on the right track; she is addressing it not only at the national level, but at the community level and that is what is most important. People are calling for these things to be done in the community and she has started that, so she is on the right track,” Liddell said.
Since conquering the trauma and scars of domestic violence, Liddell became an activist for other women, as well as a trainer for the ministry’s COPSQUAD 2000 initiative.
The mother of five, who attained a degree in social work, shared her story of emotional abuse which resulted in a heart attack.
She called on persons to be vigilant and responsive to acts of violence. She also called for perpetrators to be held accountable.
“If you were to see my wounds, I would have been committed to the hospital, because every bone of my body would have been broken and the bleeding excessive. That is my emotional wounds. So, we have to hold the perpetrators accountable. If somebody is being abused by their spouse or a partner, it is on each and every one of you to hold them accountable, call them out on their actions and that is how we are going to be able to truly say, I can, You can, We can.”
As 16 days of activism against gender-based violence continues, a number of new initiatives are being implemented to serve victims of abuse.
Among them is the “CAN” initiative which will see survivors’ advocates being placed in every region across the country.
Advocates have the responsibility of reporting acts violence for a victim in the event they are unable to do so. They are also required to inform victims of their rights and the services available to them.
Human Services Minister, Dr. Vindhya Persaud urged persons to take action by reporting cases of violence. She reiterated that perpetrators need to be held accountable.
“CAN, stands for Community Advocates Network and more than that when we say can, I can, you can, we can, it solidifies our dedication and our commitment to a cause that I think would’ve existed long before all of us. In respect of where you are on the age list, violence is not new.
Violence against women and girls and boys exist in our country and we need to not be blind, we need to not be dismissive, we need to hear the repeated cries for help, we need to look beyond the physical and understand emotional scars. We need to hold people accountable.”
The ministry’s 914- emergency toll-free hotline is also linked to the CAN initiative, providing victims with an advocate.
Victims and persons could also report acts of violence in confidence.
Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, MP, Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag, MP and members of the diplomatic corps also attended the launch.