JCA Women’s Committee condemns gender-based violence

Latoya Nugent

The Women’s Committee of the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) of Toronto is calling for  “appropriate services. supports and programs ” to bring relief to persons affected by gender-based violence in Jamaica.

In a news release last Thursday, members of the committee said they were ” deeply concerned” by the “extent of violence perpetrated towards women and girls.

“We strongly condemn gender-based violence and all forms of abuse against women, children and other vulnerable groups. To deny the experiences, realities and vulnerabilities of women and children who are presently or at risk of being victims of violence, is a part of a larger societal problem.”

Noting that ” any attempt to muzzle those who speak out is unacceptable,” they declared their solidarity “with Latoya Nugent, the ‘Tambourine Army’ of Jamaica, ‘W E- Change’, and all other groups that work with great effort to provide safe spaces for women and girls.

“We commend them for their courage in raising awareness about these human rights violations.

” In this same breath, we strongly condemn the recent arrest of Latoya Nugent as she works to bring to the fore awareness of the atrocities being waged against women and girls in Jamaica as well as information on identified perpetrators. We demand that justice be brought to bear on her situation expediently.”

Nugent, an LGBT activist and co-founder of the ” Tambourine Army,” was arrested last month  and charged with three counts of breaching the country’s Cybercrimes Act.

She  was arrested  just days after she helped organize the country’s first major protest against sexual abuse.

Tambourine Army has urged survivors of sexual abuse to reveal the name of their attackers.

Her supporters say Nugent’s detention represents a threat to freedom of speech and have started a GoFundMe campaign for her legal expenses.

In the JCA news release, the women said:  “As loyal members of the diaspora, with our collective voices we call on the government and all responsible authorities to take immediate and drastic action to protect victims and eradicate violence in all forms.”

Eunice  Graham, a founding member of the JCA  Women’s Committee,  in an interview since the news release was issued, told the Caribbean Camera that women on the Committee have been receiving

calls from Jamaicans asking ” what we are doing about the problem of  violence towards women in Jamaica”

” So our first step is to try and bring awareness to the people here ( in Toronto)  about the problem and support women’s groups back in Jamaica who are concerned about the issue.”

She explained that the JCA  Women’s Committee  was  formed   in 1975 ” but have been fully functional  since 1988,  working on the issues that matter to women.”