Cole Bay, Sint Maarten – Women’s desk in the observation of the sixteen days of activism for the elimination of violence against women held an Awareness Ensemble at the Rock House Port de Plaisance under the theme “the impact and influence of music and media on violence against women & girls. The theme was demonstrated through the art form with moving and heart-stirring performances from the Charlotte Brookson Academy, Funtopia and the National Institute of Arts.
Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Emil Lee, addressed a packed room focusing on “the impact and influence of Music and Media on Violence against Women and Girls”. Minister Lee touched on how the internet is radically changing the way we access information, evolving media continues to increase its influence and penetration into our societies. “In the past, parents could control access to media by controlling access to the radio and television. Now with mobile devices, laptops, tablets it has become almost impossible to stop our youth and citizens from accessing information.
The featured speaker for the event was Dr. Ronya Foy-Connor, coordinator of the Gender Division in Anguilla. A very eloquent, gifted, accomplished, yet humble Dr. Foy-Connor presented a well-researched and analytical presentation with great debt. She provoked thought and careful consideration of our present social situation as she linked and connected violence against women and girls with other social issues that are not always considered as contributing factors. The deliberate use of the media that provokes and encourages a culture of violence, a culture of disrespect, a culture of academic passiveness and a culture that dehumanizes the woman. She used very creatively known and celebrated entertainers which helped the audience to make realistic connection and which also shed light on the need for positive role models.
In addition she highlighted that social media places a vast amount of unnecessary pressure on individuals that has created a society of attention seekers and who when not gratified, resorts to low self-esteem and the like.
Media and music are very powerful socializing tools that has both positive but very destructive elements, Dr. Foy Connor recommended that greater awareness in the area needs to take place, collaboration, censorship of content that will be for public view and the importance of being that positive role models for the youth. The policy makers were also challenged to enact laws that protect public spaces from undesirable content.
Women’s desk takes this opportunity to thank all those persons who in one or another have contributed to the success of this Awareness Ensemble.
“There is one universal truth applicable to all countries, cultures and communities that violence against women is never accepted, never excusable and never tolerable”
– US Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Photo caption – Dr. Ronya Foy-Connor receives a gift of appreciation from Head of Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs Aida Holaman and staff member Elencia M. Baptiste-Boasman