13 Oct SENATOR SOPHIA FRAZER BINNS CALLS FOR PROTECTION OF OUR YOUNG FEMALES IN CELEBRATION OF INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD
Opposition Senator, Sophia Frazer Binns is calling on the nation to use today as a moment to reflect on what we have done for our girls across the length and breadth of this country and in so doing, has issued a ‘call to action’ to galvanize support of protection for them from harm and to promote the respect for their rights and dignity.
She said, “I implore all Jamaicans while celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child, to join me in raising the issue of our collective failure to engender a safer, more just and equitable society for our girls.”
The Senator is particularly concerned about the prevalence of sexual and other violence perpetrated against them and the inadequate support provided to survivors as well as those who are at risk of such abuse. “Every day, I worry for the safety of our nation’s children and hope for the urgent addressing of the pervasiveness of sexual violence and abuse of our girls.” “This has to be a national imperative because they far too often ignored when it has been clearly documented that sexual violence and abuse has serious implications for the girl child, their family and loved ones, as well as for national development,” says Frazer Binns.
Senator Frazer Binns believes that as a nation we have come a long way in terms of the educational advancement of our girls, who now out performs their male counterparts and so in some respects we are heading in the right direction. Notwithstanding all of this though, Jamaica continues to have the fourth highest incidence of teenage pregnancy in the region and we must do more to protect poor and rural girls who are vulnerable to sexual violence and teenage pregnancy.
Of all sexually active females between ages 15 and 24, approximately 48.8% of them were forced to have sex the first time they did, which is quite unacceptable. This crisis significantly hinders our Vision 2030 goal of Jamaicans on being empowered to achieve their fullest potential as this uniquely affects the quality of life of girls and women.
Teenage pregnancy is detrimental to a woman’s economic status as it may take a teenage mother 10-15 years to recover economically. We must recognize that an adolescent mother’s situation is often passed down to her child — A child who starts her life at a disadvantage, perpetuating an intergenerational cycle of marginalisation, exclusion and poverty.
“We have a moral responsibility to condemn all forms of sexual violence and abuse of our women and girls and to do our best to build their resilience to overcome issues, like teenage pregnancy, that uniquely affect their gender. In doing this, we are sowing the seeds of true economic growth and development, the senator further opined.
The government is being called on to ensure that there is greater protection in the law, by urgently establishing the committee of Parliament to review the Child Care and Protection Act and other relevant pieces of legislation, as well as to invest greater resources in providing support for our girls and promoting gender equality and equity.
“Our girls and indeed all our children should be able to live in a Jamaica that is truly secure, cohesive and just, so let us ensure that our girls can be full citizens of Jamaica land we love, as this is in our country’s best interest,” she said in closing.