Rhondamay Charlotte Chin Slick is a social worker from Trinidad and Tobago. After having her first child, she started her career with a focus on early childhood education in the village of Mayaro. Rhondamay’s passion for education for all children led her to become a teacher, helping to enhance the parenting skills of over three hundred parents. She also worked to establish four Early Childhood Centres throughout the region; these centers provided jobs for more than fifty young women.
She now works to implement the Two Cups of Care program at the Credo Foundation for Justice-Sophia House. This is a skills training program that works to raise the standard of living and contribute to sustainable development. She is also a social worker for young people who have become disenfranchised, as well as children who are survivors of sex trafficking. Rhondamay offers counseling sessions and exercises that help students develop emotional and spiritual self-care skills to realize their hidden talents along the way.
The silence must be broken. Society should identify where gender-based violence (GBV) occurs at every level and intervene. Research by Ricardo et al indicates that it is critical to educate youth about GBV at an early age in order to shift social norms and promote a culture of responsibility (Ricardo et. al, 2011). Incorporating this knowledge into our campaign to end GBV is essential to achieve meaningful change in society.
The conversation must begin with children in childhood centers, elementary schools and high schools and continue with universities, technical schools, sports clubs and workplaces. All members of society including religious institutions and marginalized communities must be included.
If we want to successfully eradicate gender-based violence, we need to start talking about it; loud and clear. It should be discussed in the news and on the next web page you open. The conversation and efforts surrounding GBV must reach individuals in all aspects of their lives so that it becomes their second nature to prevent it.
The UN just passed the new Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 5 talks about achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls. In regards to GBV it specifically says the goal is to “eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.” However, the many manifestations of gender-based violence indicate that its prevalence and persistence remain hidden. How can one work to eliminate gender-based violence, if one does not acknowledge how it affects all of us? Leaving a community out of fighting against this cause is like consenting to the continuation of this disgraceful act. The silence surrounding this injustice allows it to continue.
Let us light a candle in our communities and search for the values and norms that speak in support of equality and respectful interpersonal relationships. These conversations must occur in community groups that encourage and engage members to speak about GBV together, instead of separate spaces for males and females. We need to show people that ending GBV is a collaborative effort because women’s issues are men’s issues. Let us break the silence from the womb.
Let us create a world where resources are spent on prevention instead of cure.
Let us start publicizing the issues that are a result of a lack of exposure to GBV.
Let us start talking.
Let us put the issue of GBV in the spotlight. If you break the silence, you will break the shame.
Ricardo, Christine, Marci Eads, and Gary Barker. “Engaging Youth in School-Based Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence.” (2011): n. pag. Sexual Violence Research Initiative and Promundo. Web.