Violence against women in the family, workplace, community and society in general, is unacceptable and a gross violation of human rights. That is what was mentioned today in a statement issued by the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow.
While the statement does not make mention of any particular case, it is worth mentioning that the release follows an assault report made against Minister of Education Patrick Faber on Saturday September 6th by 25 year old Belizean License Officer at the Ministry of Education, Nickesha Polanco.
As has been mentioned the report was withdrawn by Polanco on the same day it was made at the Ladyville Police Station. In her statement Polanco accused Faber of physically assaulted her while she celebrated her birthday at his house in Lord’s Bank Village.
In her statement Barrow makes mention that violence whether occurring in the home or in the community, instills fear and insecurity in women, often leading them not to report or to withdraw reports. Mrs. Simplis Barrow encourages both women and men to report acts of violence and follow through with legal proceedings; stressing that fear, social pressures and shame should not be a deterrent to seeking help. As mentioned by Faber, the report was withdrawn since it did not occur the way it was reported.
On the other hand Barrow states that under the Domestic Violence Act the provide protection and the Police Department has an obligation to respond to all reports of domestic violence regardless of the perpetrator. Failure to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions not only encourages further abuse, but also gives the impression that violence against women and or men is acceptable or normal.
At the end of her statement Barrow promises to work with stakeholders to review legislation, systems and policies with a view to ensuring increased protection to victims of domestic violence.
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