Minister of Justice Anna Richardson (centre) with panellists and panel discussion organisers.
PHILIPSBURG--An all-male panel took on the topic of domestic violence and its impact on the individual, the family and society, and various other related issues, in a panel discussion titled “Where do You Stand?” The discussion will be aired on TV Varib, TelTV 15 and the government platforms on Facebook and YouTube at 8:00pm Friday, November 25.
The panel discussion is in observance of November as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Foundation Judicial Institutes St. Maarten SJIS and the Prosecutor’s Office, via their Domestic Violence and Mediation Project, organised the panel in collaboration with the Department of Communication DComm.
Sharing where they stand on domestic violence are insurance professional at Caribbean Insurance Collin “Mark” Hylton; radio host, entrepreneur and activist Alston Lourens; international speaker and entrepreneur Jamal Cummins Sr.; and speaker and Youth Participation Specialist for UNICEF Netherlands Lenworth Wilson Jr. These men were chosen by organisers due to their visibility and influence in society.
The panellists discussed their role in eliminating domestic violence, its possible causes and the macho culture in St. Maarten. They also delved into men owning their emotions and talking with family and friends without shame, the need to educate men on dealing with anger, fostering emotional intelligence and conflict resolutions skills.
The panel was moderated by chief of staff of the Cabinet of the Minister of Finance Christian Grannum and domestic violence and mediation project coordinator and host of “Every Woman’s Voice”, Ramona Riley.
Encouraging people to tune into the discussion, Grannum said men are often the ones who commit acts of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, but they can also be victims of these crimes. “Therefore, it is of importance that we seek to engage men as part of the solution.”
Riley thanked the panellists for lending their voices to the cause as they press on to creating an abuse-free society. “We must eliminate the myth that domestic violence is a women’s issue and involve men in bringing awareness by standing with women in the fight against domestic and intimate partner violence,” she said.
Ambassador for the Domestic Violence and Mediation Project, Justice Minister Anna Richardson challenged organisers to seek ways to implement the panellists’ suggestions to effect even more lasting impact.
The Domestic Violence and Mediation Project is financed by Resources for Community Resilience R4CR, implemented by the International Cooperation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities VNG and funded by the St. Maarten Recovery and Resilience Trust Fund to improve the capacity of St. Maarten’s civil society organisations and to support reconstruction and resilience at the community level.