Signing Safe Futures Jamaica! Tackling the outrage of Gender Based Violence!

3rd April 2018

Photograph of a young woman punching a punching padWith the launch of our pilot Gender Based Violence (GBV) project in Jamaica, we’re working to explore new methodologies for ending physical, sexual and emotional violence against D/deaf girls and young women. In addition, we’re looking to determine how we can enable D/deaf girls and young women to feel secure and to stay safe from harm. We see GBV as founded in gender-based inequalities. It is, quite simply, an ugly and distressing manifestation of the inequality between female and male, one that constitutes a gross violation of human rights and which hinders gender equality.

Our experience is that most GBV happens within the family and that it can take many forms such as partner violence, sexual violence by non-partners, Female Genital mutilation (FGM), honour violence, early marriage, violence against LGBTI and trafficking in human beings. We’ve found evidence of all these being prosecuted against D/deaf girls and young women, so we’ve decided we must act.

Signing Safe Futures Jamaica! is just the start. Funded by Laureus Sport for Good and delivered in partnership with the Jamaican Association for the Deaf, this project sees the assembly of curriculum and content which empowers and enables D/deaf girls and young women to say ‘No!’ to GBV. To self-advocate and to self-represent so that they can reduce their susceptibility to abuse and exploitation.

This through the delivery of martial arts and dance sessions, taught by trained D/deaf and female coaches, who also act as role models for D/deaf girls, promoting safe behaviours and ensuring, both, an increase in gender equality and the transformation of gender norms. But what is unique about this programme is the work being undertaken to reframe masculinity amongst D/deaf boys. Working together, the D/deaf coaches and some of their participant D/deaf girls will assemble a module for presentation to D/deaf boys. One that will look at gender expectations, roles and responsibilities from the perspective of D/deaf girls, who will then go onto present the module’s composite activities to D/deaf boys themselves!

The strengthening of legal and policy frameworks to address GBV against D/deaf girls is also important as we work with a range of Criminal Justice stakeholders in Jamaica, to bridge the gap between law and practice and to end the impunity for GBV. All of which leads to a proven programme concept which, in partnership with the global donor community we will cascade to Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and South Africa.

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