BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Approaching this year’s International Women’s Day, UN Women, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and CARICOM have joined forces to better understand how women experience intimate violence with a view to reducing and eliminating this scourge in the Caribbean. The three organisations have launched national prevalence surveys on gender-based violence for five Caribbean countries in Bridgetown, Barbados.
“Without reliable and relevant data, it is not possible to adequately treat, reduce and prevent violence against women and girls,” said UN Women Multi-Country Office Caribbean Representative Alison McLean.
Following surveys to measure the prevalence of gender-based violence, specifically intimate partner violence in five Caribbean countries, the picture is disturbingly clear:
- Women aged 15-64 have experienced at least one form of violence ranging from 39 percent to as high as 55 percent;
- Twenty eight percent to 38 percent of women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime;
- Physical violence ranges from 25 percent to 35.
Emotional violence, which is usually the most commonly reported form of violence ranged from 29 percent to 40 percent of the women surveyed. It also needs to be said that the lack of physical scars makes no form of violence a lesser concern. All forms of violence cause grave harm.
With support from CDB, the Inter-American Development Bank, USAID, and CARICOM, UN Women has invested significantly in supporting Caribbean countries in strengthening capacities to fill the data gaps on violence against women and girls using the model. As a result, the initial goal of piloting the survey in two countries surveyed has been exceeded, surveying five countries in total – Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
“Support for efforts to achieve gender equality, including ending gender-based violence, is a key priority for the Caribbean Development Bank. Without gender equality we cannot achieve our mandate to reduce extreme poverty in the Caribbean,” said CDB vice-president (Operations), Monica La Bennett.