Notes from meeting on 19th September
The meeting was quite well attended by an enthusiastic group of volunteers.
A discussion on the proposed amendment to the Sexual Offences Act to take out the exemption of the charge of rape when the victim is the spouse was animated. The general feeling is that the community at large does not really understand the concept of marital rape and that much more work has to be done to educate and inform in order to change the mindset of many people.
The Crisis Centre will be presenting its view on Marital Rape and the proposed amendment which, in fact, is only the removal of five words, and this will be posted soon. Several volunteers are working on this. It was suggested that, instead of talking only about Marital Rape, it might be more effective to focus on functional versus dysfunctional relationships during which discussions the issue of rape, including marital rape, can be addressed. As women have not be forthcoming in presenting their views on marital rape, it was suggested that many of them are in fear of reprisals, both at home, in the work place and in the church, if they speak out. One very valid comment was that many women do not have positive and assertive female role models to emulate. If they had, this might then give them the confidence to speak out on how they really feel.
After a lengthy discussion, it was planned that to recognize The Day to End Sexual Violence on the 29th September, a press conference will be held (in a cemetery for effect) to promote healthy relationships and to launch a longer campaign on this topic. In this way it is hoped to appeal to the greater community and capture their attention, thereby making them more open to ideas with which they may not have hitherto been prepared to consider and accept.
It was felt too that if people in authority, such a pastors and teachers, etc. have a clear understanding about Marital Rape, then they should be able to pass that understanding onto those who listen to them.
There is to be an exhibition in Town Centre Mall on 10th October mounted by the Full Figured Women Pageant organizers on Child Abuse and their representative offered to extend the exhibit to include Sexual Violence in their theme.
Facebook pages such a Felicity Humblestone’s page on Marital Rape should be used to spread the message of any upcoming activities.
The focus then went to Crisis Centre Month in November with attention being given to Teen Relationship Abuse. After some discussion, the theme “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” was chosen. Some of the activities to be organized were visits to schools, particularly Senior High Schools, with a play to be written by Thea Rutherford, a Big Grill Off in which men would participate (do all the work!!) a movie night, when a film pertaining to violence against women would be shown, and a newspaper supplement.
Lynn Symonette from the Women’s Bureau, suggested that the Crisis Centre organize an activity to specifically recognize the International Day to End Violence to Women.
Several volunteers signed up to undertake the planning of the activities for the 29th of this month and also for Crisis Centre Month in November.
This is an exciting time for the Centre with so many enthusiastic young people coming forward with creative ideas for consciousness raising and sensitization of members of the community.
If anyone who did not sign up would like to assist or has any additional ideas, please call Novelette at the office on 328.0922