St. John’s Antigua- One of the leading advocates in the fight against gender-based violence is calling on persons to “speak up and speak out” to prevent sexual violence.
The month of April has been declared Sexual Awareness Month and Women Against Rape (WAR) is using the opportunity to create a greater level of awareness of sexual violence and to encourage conversation about healthy sexual behaviour.
“It is time to speak out. Do not be afraid. There are persons and groups out there to give the necessary support along the way. We want the dialogue to increase people’s need to talk about it,” said President of WAR Alexandrina Wong.
The group, formed in 2007 following a spike in rapes and assaults on women in Antigua & Barbuda, is conducting a week of activities to get the message across.
The activities began on Monday with a capacity building seminar and continue until April 30.
“This week our public awareness includes an appearance on state television. For the remainder of the week our activities include a church service on Sunday. Our action day is going to be on Saturday,” Wong said.
The group will spend that day at the East and West bus station terminals distributing paraphernalia about sexual violence and what persons should do in the event they experience any form of violence.
To close the week of activities, the women’s group at the Golden Grove Christian Union Church will be making a presentation to that congregation on sexual violence.
Two of the members within the church are now trained sexual assault advocates along with 13 others who participated in a training seminar put on by the Directorate of Gender Affairs.
“We have now 15 additional sexual assault advocates who will volunteer their services to persons in the various communities in Antigua & Barbuda,” Wong added.
The activities are being held under the theme “Connect, Respect, Speak Out.”