Sex, Sexuality and the Media was the hot topic of discussion when 26 media practitioners and Executive Directors of Family Planning Associations from 13 Caribbean countries convened in St Lucia at the Bay Gardens Resort from 12-13 July 2017.
Facilitator was Dr Allyson Leacock, CEO of Live Up, a coalition of 112 broadcast media houses in 24 countries.
At the conclusion of the meeting yesterday, Dona Martinez, Executive Director of the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago said, “This meeting was long overdue given the significant issues in relation to sex and sexuality that impede the basic rights of adolescents and at- risk populations in particular.”
The meeting was successful in identifying media strategies and areas for collaboration on issues such as the gap between the age of consent at 16 and the age of access to services by young people at 18; abortion and LGBTI rights. These strategies include emphasis on public education, sensitisation training for media workers and a campaign on sexual awareness.
Adler Bynoe, CEO of the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation expressed satisfaction with the innovative media strategies that emerged to better communicate key messages to the public through broadcast, print and social media. In several Caribbean countries, whereas the age of consent is 16, a young person cannot legally access contraceptives until the age of 18, creating a 2-year gap unprotected by our laws. Meanwhile our youth are also denied the right to that high-quality sexuality education in schools which would empower them to make informed decisions regarding their sexuality and prepare them to better manage their later adult lives as parents, partners and sexual beings. Across the region, daily, persons of different sexual persuasions live their lives under a cloud of stigma and discrimination. These are just a few of the many equities that will be tackled over time by the Coalition on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (CCSRHR).
The Coalition is comprised primarily of Family Planning Associations from across the Caribbean, and regional and international partners. It also seeks to ensure that the sexual and reproductive rights that are agreed on internationally are in fact made real in the lives of the average citizen.
The meeting was funded by the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region and executed by the Caribbean Coalition on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (CCSRHR).