While the Ministry of National Security and the country focus on the violence that occurs between gangs, there is another important group that is not often included in the dialogue on violence. In February Hermelinda Pinks was killed by her ex during a murder/suicide encounter; in July a man was convicted of brutally stabbing to death Keisha Buller inside her home, and in August Orange Walk resident Mariela Alpuche Rodriguez was choked to death by her husband whilst on holiday. At the end of today’s Senate meeting, Dr. Carla Barnett spoke about violence against women in Belize, specifically about gender-based violence and the need to address it.
Dr. Carla Barnett, Minister of State, Minister of Labor: “As indicated in my message to you violence against women is an infringement of the basic human rights of women and the rise in these crimes as evidence by the upsurge of domestic assault, rape and murder of women is an indication of the need to address this deep and fundamental matter as a critical aspect of the immediate crime fighting strategy and the long term social and economic development strategy. Children learn to accept violence as a normal behavior when they see their parents beating each other in the home, more often than not it’s the man beating the woman. We need to adopt in the press for a zero tolerance policy in respect of violence against women in order to begin to address the root causes of violence in our communities. The impact of violence against women is now less impactful but is not so easy to see but when violence stands in the way of women achieving economic advancement because they miss a lot of work, because they are not allowed to work, because they are forced to limit themselves in the kind of work that they can do then that violence stands in the way of women making improvements in their own lives and the lives of their family members and more than that violence stands in the way of social and economic progress of the society as a whole since when women improve their own lives, we feel that benefit across the economy. The link between the statutes of women and socioeconomic progress can therefore be seen. The main implication is that policy approaches which are intended to bring real economic and social improvements need to take gender into account. That is to the say the root of the socioeconomic problem can better be understood if we analyze it from the gender perspective and the solutions to the problems if they contain a gender perspective have a greater chance of achieving sustainable socio economic development as long as we remember that no single person, no single organization and no single institution has the single answer for the crime and violence in our society. The answers lies within us and within our communities but we have to be willing to listen to each other, to work across political party lines, across organizations, across institutions and across religions.”
One woman who had begun a movement against violence on women was Senator Lisa Shoman. Manifesto for Linda is her brainchild that came about in February 2018 after the brutal death of Hermelinda Pinks.