Social Justice Bermuda On Women’s Day

March 8, 2021 | 1 Comment

In acknowledging that today [March 8] is International Women’s Day, Social Justice Bermuda said that “people have been asked what they will ‘choose to challenge,” and noted that they have a ”number of policies in our platform rooted in gender-equity, including salary transparency, teaching gender equality and integrating more stories of women in school lessons.”

Social Justice Bermuda’s full statement follows below:

Today as the world acknowledges International Women’s Day, people have been asked what they will ‘choose to challenge’. How will each of us forge a gender equal world?

Social Justice Bermuda has a number of policies in our platform rooted in gender-equity, including salary transparency, teaching gender equality and integrating more stories of women in school lessons. Our ‘Criminal Justice’ section also calls for the reformation of domestic violence laws, and in light of the many acts of violence against women over the last year, this is what we will highlight for IWD.

Gender-based violence is one of the worst forms of social injustice, institutionally and culturally entrenched in societies. Inequalities in power structures, rape culture [the ways in which society normalizes sexual violence, which includes a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself] and various forms of discrimination, contribute to violence against women.

When Social Justice Bermuda marched for Black Lives on 13 June 2020, part of our mission was to join with others who were bringing attention to the case of Chavelle Dillon-Thomas, who has been missing since April 2020. During that march we helped raise money to increase the reward for information, we spoke her name, and reinforced that her life mattered. Finally, an arrest has been made and we are hopeful that there will be justice for Chavelle. We applaud the community organisations, including Safe Spaces Bermuda, and the Bermuda Police Service who continued the search for answers, and we send our love and support to Chavelle’s family.

In addition to Chavelle’s murder, our tiny island continues to see more cases of violence against women and girls.

In July 2020, a mother of two was the victim of a machete attack. In September 2020, a woman was sexually assaulted at knifepoint on her way to work. On September 29, 2020, Garrina Cann was brutally shot and killed at her home. To date, although arrests have been made, no one is in custody for her murder, and the case remains unsolved.

Our Criminal Justice Reform Team has also noticed a number of cases being dismissed.

In October 2020, a man received probation for threatening to slit his wife’s throat. In December 2020, a man received a conditional discharge after he assaulted a 12 year old girl. In January 2021, a man received a suspended sentence for assaulting his 14 year old daughter. In February 2021, a man who filmed himself beating and torturing his estranged wife last year, even breaking her arm, also received a suspended sentence.

We are angered and saddened by these acts of violence.

If you would like to join us in choosing to challenge violence against women, here are four things you can do:

1] Take a Survey

Earlier this year, Centre Against Abuse indicated that the numbers of domestic violence cases has risen and the organisation is supporting a study being led by Catherine Cooke, an MPhil student at the University of Cambridge who is researching the impact of gender violence against women in Bermuda. There are two anonymous online surveys, and we encourage as many people as possible to participate.

Please see the survey links below for survivor or friends/family:
Survivors: here
Friends and Family: here

2] Read This Letter

Lawyer Tawana Tannock wrote a letter to the editor in June 2020 which highlighted the current limitations within the domestic violence legislative framework, and issued several suggestions for ways to address these gaps. They include training Bermuda Police Officers in domestic-abuse risk identification and evidence collection and the introduction of a Specialist Domestic Violence. Read the letter to find out more, and lobby your MP to implement these changes.

3] Donate $250

Obtaining a protection order is a lengthy legal process, and Center Against Abuse [CAA] has helped hundreds of women to receive one, fifty in 2020 alone. While lawyers charge from $2000-5000 for this service, CAA charges their clients only $250. Please donate to CAA so that they are able to waive this charge for women in vulnerable situations who are unable to afford the fee.

Transfer to their account. Centre Against Abuse HSBC a/c 010 284636 001.

4] Watch This Video

“Rape culture” is a term that describes an environment where rape is pervasive, normalized and accepted as inevitable. Rape culture does not necessarily mean that society or individual people promote sexual violence in an outward, active manner. Rather rape culture is largely perpetuated via unexamined and false beliefs. Watch this video to learn more, and to learn how you can be part of dismantling rape culture in Bermuda.

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  1. Yes. Women have a vital place in this world. Women are the nurtures and the giver of life. The hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world. A mother takes exceptionally great care of her young. Then they will grow with great values. It is the mother,a woman. who makes the world as it is.
    POWER to all women!!

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