An Adolescent Forum on Gender-Based Violence
Dating violence and other forms of gender-based violence is a very unfortunate reality for many young people in Belize. It is also a topic that is often not discussed among this population.
The Special Envoy, recognizing the importance of discussing these issues with young people, collaborated with the National Women’s Commission and the Women’s Department to host a students’ forum entitled “Let’s Have the Talk.”
This forum opened the door for adolescents and youths to openly discuss the issue of gender-based violence. The event was attended by high school students from across the Belize District, but was also broadcasted live on national radio and schools countrywide were encouraged to have their students listen in.
Four schools participated in the event, and each student was given 3-5 minutes to make a strong presentation on the topic assigned to their school. The forum aimed to provide young persons and the population at large with a better understanding of what Gender Based Violence is, (i.e. the identification of Gender Based Violence) and equip students with a thorough understanding of the services that can be accessed when one is faced with violence.
After the presentations, the students were provided with comments, feedback and further clarifications from a group of experts including a police officer, a gender specialist, the director of the National Committee for Families and Children, and two Women’s Development Officers.
The Special Envoy would like to especially thank Ms. Ann Marie Williams, former Director of the National Women’s Commission for her support through the planning and coordination of this event.
After the presentations and dialogue, Mrs. Simplis Barrow gifted each participating school with a glass award. Each presenter also received a gift basket with an assortment of snacks courtesy Santiago Castillo Limited.