Sixteen Days of Activism Not a Moment too Soon Tough 2 Weeks for Women in Belize Print E-mail
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Thursday, 01 December 2011 00:00

On Friday, November 25, the Women’s Department held a rally and parade to signal the start of 16 days of activism to raise awareness on the prevalence of gender-based violence. Judging from news in Belize over the past two weeks, theses days of activism is extremely warranted.

On Tuesday, Nov 15, Senior Magistrate Dorothy Frazer remanded Shanice Castillo to prison for three days after she hit Shelmadine Jones across the face with a stick during an argument. Jones received multiple stitches to treat her injury. Castillo was spared from serving a 6-month jail sentence and only penalized with a cash fine. Magistrate Frazer explained that she hoped the three-day jail stint had taught her a lesson.

On November 17, Martha Alicia Wagner was brutally stabbed by her husband, Felipe Wagner on Rio Hondo Street in Orange Walk Town.  Allegedly, a jealous rage caused him to stab her once in the chest and once in the back. According to reports, the relationship had a long history of abuse. Wagner was charged with attempted murder and the use of deadly means of harm. Martha Alicia Wagner is still on the road to recovery.

On November 19, Sherlene Garnett was attacked by her step daughter, Alva Moody. Garnett was on Curl Thompson Street when Moody rode up on bicycle and stabbed her in the elbow with an ice pick. Moody has been charged with aggravated assault and wounding.

On November 21, a 24-year-old of San Pedro Columbia Village in the Toledo District reported to police that her boss had raped her on three different occasions. The alleged rape took place on consecutive days, May 26, 27 and 28. Her boss, a business man of Indianville, was charged with rape. The victim is now pregnant.

Also on November 21, Delia Hyde, an officer of the Belize Police Department, was attacked while on duty at the Dangriga Police Station. A committal warrant was issued for her ex-common law husband, Kent “Ninja Mack” McKenzie, for unpaid child support. Four officers were sent to detain McKenzie but according to reports, he was allowed to drive himself to the station. While McKenzie was in the station, Hyde bent over to look inside her locker for a file. While she searched her files, McKenzie walked over and stabbed her twice in the back. Hyde was rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital where she was treated and released the following day. McKenzie was charged with attempted murder and the use of deadly means of harm. The four police officers that allegedly allowed McKenzie to drive himself to the station have been notified about possible disciplinary actions for gross neglect.

On November 24, an auto mechanic has been charged with carnal knowledge of his 6-year- old step-daughter. Two months earlier, he was charged with indecent assault on his 11-year- old step-daughter. The carnal knowledge incident occurred between January 1st, and October 21st, 2011. He was remanded into to custody until January 27th.

On November 28, Rudolph “Tubba” Smith of Hattieville was charged for rape of a 15-year-old girl and aggravated burglary. The girl reported to the police that she was asleep in her house in the Albert Area, when Smith broke in and put a knife to her throat. Smith told her to shut her mouth or he will hurt her little brother and sister. The girl remained silent; Smith turned her on her back and raped her. He has been remanded to the Hattieville prison until December 23. One week earlier, he was released from prison on a charge for aggravated burglary with intent to commit rape.

On November 27, 66-year-old Castula Westby was inside her bedroom sleeping when a man entered through her bedroom window and began stabbing her. According to reports, she was stabbed as much as 13 times. Nothing was stolen from inside the house. Westby was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. She remains in a critical condition.

Incidents of violence against or including women were off the charts in recent weeks. These cases were only the reported ones. Plenty of activities are scheduled during these 16 days of activism. Several self defense sessions will be held across the country. Women can access the sessions by contacting the Women’s Department. Legal clinics will be held across the country to inform women on legal options they have available to stop domestic abuse. There will be sexual violence forums in Corozal and Dangriga. A fair will be held on December 3 to inform single mothers of income generating opportunities currently available to them.

The recent spike in violence against women suggests that more needs to be done to protect them. More people need to get involved and the intensity of the activism needs to pick up.