Rape is not the fault of the victim. For many years, women and girls have been held responsible for the actions of their violators.
In some cases, the victims are seen as contributors to the violent acts that they endured at the hands of their perpetrators.
The social stigmatization associated with rape and other forms of violence towards women has left victims with very little choice — either to withdraw their complaints or remain silent about the crime.
Victim blaming should stop if we are to make any progress on the rights of women and girls.
The idea that a victim’s physical appearance or image contributes to her violation only signals a dire need for re-education on human rights.
Gender-based violence against women and girls is a human rights violation. It hinders their progress as citizens and human beings. They have the right to walk free from any form of physical or sexual violation or abuse.
We must continue to speak out on behalf of women and girls, and ensure that their causes are brought to justice. Community members must play their role in protecting women and girls from perpetrators who may live within the same communities.
We need to publicize the fact that there are local services for victims of sexual crimes which will assist them to manage and survive their traumatic experiences, and to do what we can to strengthen them.
The protection of the rights of women and girls should remain our key focus for legal reform and implementation. Human rights like any other rights are important for the social and economic development of our Caribbean societies.