By: Precious Mills

BASSTERRE, St. Kitts (MARCH 2018)- Although physical violence against women was the most relevant topic and top topic of the recent International Women’s Day march (8th March) organised by the  Business and Professional Women (BPW) Club of St.Kitts, other areas which affect women negatively were also focused on by participants.

That day this media house caught up with two public figures who shared why took part- Archdeacon Isaiah Phillip and Opposition Parliamentarian Hon. Marcella Liburd of Constituency Two (Central Basseterre).

“On International Women’s Day, this kind of march to protest against violence against women and girls, I would not miss the opportunity to have the office of the archdeacon to be associated with,” commented Archdeacon Phillip.

According to him: “ Christian leadership must always be associated with any matter that seek to affirm in all people especially women and girls in the full dignity as part of that humanity that God has created and so I’m here to say to all Christians that we need to take strong leadership roles in advocacy on working against violence against women and whatever form that violence takes whether the violence is something that you see or something that is covered sometimes under all kinds of other cloaks.”

Archdeacon Phillip added: “Whatever violates against women and girls and them being affirmed in their full dignity as part of the humanity that God has created, we have to stand up for that because whatever demeans any section of society on the part of humanity demeans humanity.”

Asked what word of advice he has for women, he responded: “What I would say to all women in general is that you have to have very strong respect for yourself. If you are going to affirm your dignity, it must begin with strong respect for yourself and that must be in every department of your life. Whatever you do in terms of your relationship building all of those things, affirm yourself as a person of dignity and worth and never allow yourself to be brought into a dependent situation because history has shown us that whenever women are in a situation of dependency, it works against them and it works against peace and harmony in our communities.”

Liburd, in speaking with reporters stated: “Today we are standing up against all forms of violence. That’s my message-all forms of violence not just physical violence.”

The former Gender Affairs minister portrayed that particular message via a placard she carried.

She went on to say: “We know that we have had a spate of murders against women. This year, we’ve had three for example for 2018 to date and the most gruesome being the double murder one week ago and so we’re here to stand up against physical violence against women. Too often now we are seeing women becoming the victims of gruesome of murders and we are calling on action to be taken by the Ministry of Gender in order to protect women not only with murders because that’s so very important but there are increases in rapes, assaults against women and the violation of women’s homes; and a lot of the homes are run by women and so we need some form of protection for women.”

The Opposition parliamentarian made claims about emotional distress that women are faced with in the employment sector under the new government.

“The other message that I want to send is that violence against women is not limited to physical violence because we’ve seen over the past three years, rampant victimisation against women; hundreds of women have been dismissed and demoted, sidelined, disrespected and insulted and so I want to send a very strong message that we are also against all forms of violence including the victimisation of women that is happening so very often in this country.”