Montserrat needs a Violence Against Women Act, says the Montserrat Women’s Resource Centre.
“Montserrat is in desperate need of laws that protect our women and girls from and provide recourse for dangers such as physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse, sexual harassment at work, at school and on the streets, and from rape and all forms of gender-driven violence, abuse and exploitation,” says Shirley Osborne, Executive Director of MahMah, the Montserrat Women’s Resource Centre.
“Montserratian women are being violated and abused and that is unacceptable; immigrant women are being exploited and victimised and that is unconscionable; our girls are growing up in an atmosphere of male privilege and entitlement that does nothing other than perpetuate the violence, abuse and exploitation, and renders them vulnerable, at-risk and unsafe. Period,” says Ms. Osborne. “These things are indisputable threats to women’s well-being, but here in Montserrat, the social prohibition of this perfidious phenomenon is practically non-existent and legal recourse is just pitiful. It is nothing short of disgraceful that, to date, we still do not have a Violence Against Women Act in the laws of our land.
“That has to be remedied, and quickly, not only because of the emotional, psychological and physical injury that this violence and abuse cause women, men, and the entire community of Montserrat, but because they deprive women of their personal growth, peace of mind and the ability to contribute their best to their families. Furthermore, as a community, we are denied the contributions of the enormous store of gifts, talents and service that women and girls possess, that Montserrat has an absolute right to and of which Montserrat is urgently in need.
“The abuse of women, in all its forms, must be outlawed. The abuse and exploitation of our women and our girl-children must be made an unquestionably criminal act. It is imperative that the protection of our girls and boys, and of our women and our men be made a national priority, and quickly. Montserrat’s development depends on this, too.”
Mah-Mah – The Montserrat Women’s Resource Centre provides supportive and educational services for girls and women in Montserrat.
Our helpline number is 496-6700