by Linda Straker
- Grenada has completed a review of the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action
- UN Women advocates for provision of health services for women and girls
- Delegation will be visiting the island next week
Social Development Minister Delma Thomas said that the issue of amending legislation so that abortion can be an option for girls and women who conceive a child through rape or other sexual related crimes, is not something that the current cabinet of ministers has considered or ever discussed.
“I cannot speak to the issue at this time because it’s not an issue we considered. It’s not an issue we discussed, but it’s something we can have an open mind on. But we have not discussed it and therefore I am here representing the cabinet of Grenada and this is the part where they have not; they have never discussed that particular issue,” she said.
Addressing the weekly Tuesday post-cabinet news conference, Thomas said that Grenada has completed a review of the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action. That platform flagged 12 key areas where urgent action was needed to ensure greater equality and opportunities for women and girls. It also laid out concrete ways for countries to bring about change. In the area of women and health, the platform says that women need to be healthy in order to realise their full potential. This includes proper nutrition, sexual and reproductive rights, and mental health, as well as freedom from violence.
As a result of this, UN Women as a body advocates for states like Grenada to better coordinate the provision of health services for women and girls — including for survivors of violence — and supports non-governmental partners providing essential services. A delegation from the body will be visiting the island next week.
Speaking of the increasing number of sexual crimes against children reported to the authorities, Thomas is of the view that there is not an increase in child sexual abuse incidents but there is increased reporting of these incidents because of education and awareness.
“The very fact that you are hearing many of it now, before it was taboo. People sweep it under the carpet, people collect money; but because of the work that we are doing as it relates to sensitisation, as it relates to the laws, as it relates to making people know that it’s not okay to hide, you have not done anything wrong as a girl or as a woman if you are raped, so it is okay to report — that is why we are hearing,” said Thomas who reminded journalists that the issue of sexual abuse and rape has been around for as long as she could recall.
“So many times we are hearing about the issue of rape and it seems or sounds to people like there is an increase in rape. That is not true at all because I have always said and I will maintain that,” she said while informing the media that her own mother had her first child at the age of 15.
“My first sister was born when my mother was 15 which means based on the time she was born my mother conceived her when she was 14,” she said.