Violence against women “plagues all strata of every society, all religious and ethnic groups”, and the entire community must be mobilised to end such acts.
“We cannot remain silent/indifferent in the face of the onslaught of such violence,” said the Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) in a media release issued Friday November 24, a day before the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (November 25).
“Catholics believe that God imprinted a right moral order in the hearts of men and women,” said the release, “but some have strayed from this path”. It continued, “Violence is fed by a lack of formation of conscience; and by the existence of a culture that allows it to continue unabated. The sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person are the foundation of the moral vision of a society.”
The social justice arm of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain quoted from the Holy See, and Pope Francis, who condemned violence against women and called for respect for women during his September visit to Colombia.
The Commission urged the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to act on the recommendations made in the UNDP-UN Report Commitment to Action: Public Policies to Eradicate violence against women in Latin America and the Caribbean. The report stated that while progress has been made, the region has the highest rate of violence against women. “This ‘dire challenge’ must be met head on,” and the CCSJ welcomed the recommendations “that social pacts should be generated among governments, the private sector and civil society to engage all relevant actors in ending this scourge”.
The CCSJ emphasised though, that legislation alone “will not defeat this evil”, and root causes need to be addressed: the socialisation of males to respect themselves and females to build “a culture of life, love and mutual respect”; and a greater promotion of the inherent dignity and protection of each woman. The need to offer solidarity and support in parishes to victims of violence was also highlighted.
“The time to act is NOW,” ended the Commission.