Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. Globally 1 in every 3 women has suffered from violence in her life; and out of 10 women, 6 are killed by their partners or family members. According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2015-2016, in Belize, almost an equal proportion of men and women (1 in 20 or approx. 5%) believes a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife.
The struggle victims and survivors face during“normal” times worsen during an emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing and other strategies to curb the spread of the virus may significantly impact the provision of essential protective services for women and girls who experience or are at risk of experiencing gender-based violence(GBV), making it essential for safe spaces and shelters to continue providing such safe housing without placing their staff at risk.
As such, the National Women's Commission (NWC)with funding from the Spotlight Initiative, a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, has donated an assortment of cleaning and sanitizing supplies to two shelters that provide emergency housing for victims and survivors of GBV. The donation was handed over by the Executive Director,Cynthia Williams, to Mary Open Doors and Haven House representatives. Additionally, Mary Open Doors received needed bedroom supplies to expand its service delivery. Both shelters will also be receiving personal protective equipment(PPE) later this month.
The National Women’s Commission commends the timely support of the Spotlight Initiative during these times of emergency where COVID-19 adds another layer of uncertainty and insecurity to those living in violence.
If you are experiencing violence or know of someone who needs safe housing, contact the Women’s Department at 227-7397 for additional information. Or if you are in danger and require urgent and immediate attention, call 0800-A-WAY-OUT.
UNFPA Caribbean, Haven House Belize, Mary OpenDoors, UNDP Belize, UNICEF Belize, Belize Red Cross, Belize Police DepartmentEastern Division North, Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation& Poverty Alleviation