The Directorate of Gender Affairs within the Ministry of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development, Youth, And Gender Affairs, wishes to convey heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Angel who died tragically on Wednesday morning.
Her untimely passing at the hands of an intimate partner marks another life lost to intimate partner violence. While we have made national progress in heightening the awareness of intimate-partner violence in our communities including the establishment of the Support and Referral Centre Angel’s death reminds us that the work of eradicating the gendered norms that influence this type of crime is far from over.
While women are disproportionately affected by intimate partner violence, members of the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender (LBGT+) community are even more vulnerable to this type of violence with 30-50% of transgender individuals globally having experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime, as compared to 28-33% of the general population according to global statistics. Women face disproportionate rates of violence and we must recognize the diverse experiences of survivors, including women of the trans experience.
Gender-based violence, including sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and sexual harassment can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. People within the LGBT+ community often have gender identities that reflect a direct contradiction to what is expected by society, this often puts them at a higher risk of violence and hate crimes. We must seek to step outside ourselves and our personal opinions and speak with one voice; there is no excuse for violence.
The Directorate of Gender Affairs, within the Ministry of Social Transformation, understands that there are significant barriers to accessing care and services among marginalized communities. Social stigma and the fear of victimisation, mistrust, and a lack of confidence in the available support systems can deter persons from reporting crimes committed against them and from seeking the necessary care and services in the aftermath of an incident of violence.
We must say no more to all forms of intimate partner crimes and abuse. If we are to achieve true sustainable transformation and development, we cannot leave anyone behind. Antigua and Barbuda is party to several international conventions and treaties including the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) which remind us that every member of the public, especially our most vulnerable, has the
right to live free from violence and discrimination. All survivors should feel confident and comfortable in accessing services and support.
As we work together towards a future without violence, we must commit to protecting the most vulnerable among us. Let us hold ourselves accountable, understanding the value of offering empathy to those who may be different from ourselves. Not only do we share a home-land, Antigua; we are all human beings. Our hearts and minds go out to Angel’s family and friends as they seek to navigate life in the aftermath of this tragedy.
The Directorate of Gender Affairs Support and Referral Centre offers non-discriminatory, client- centred care to victims of all intimate of violence. All SARC personnel and members of our Sexual Assault Response Team have been trained on appropriate trauma-informed response procedures to gender-based and sexual violence especially among vulnerable groups.
If you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner violence, the doors of the Antigua and Barbuda Support and Referral Centre is open to you. We are located on the corner of Nevis Street and Friendly Alley for walk-in visits or you can contact our 24/7 crisis hotline at 463-5555.