“Women and girls have dreams, but femicide steals those dreams”, States the Dominican Deputy Attorney General for Women Affairs During GFDD UN Event

March 18, 2016

GFDD hosted a panel discussion at the UN today to celebrate the 60th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60). The event, entitled “Efforts to Reduce Violence against Women and Promote Gender Empowerment in the Dominican Republic and Abroad”, looked to contribute to the review theme of CSW60: The elimination and
prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. Speaking before a packed auditorium, the panelists shared best practices
to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its efforts to achieve gender equality, and promote women’s rights and empowerment from the international to the local level.

The panelists included Roxanna Reyes, Deputy Attorney General for Women’s Affairs in the Dominican Republic, Susan O’Malley, Chair of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women New York, Commissioner Cecile Noel, NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, Bertha Santana, National Coordinator of the GFDD ReCrearte Program and Luiza Carvalho, Regional Director for the Americas
and the Caribbean of UN Women.

The moderator of the session Marc Jourdan, GFDD UN Programs and Outreach Manager. Jourdan welcomed the attendees and introduced the speakers stressing the diversity of the panel and the opportunity for a meaningful discussion on the impact of gender empowerment for social development.

Carvalho took the floor to provide a presentation about the regional efforts made by the United Nations, and in particular UN Women to advance gender equality. She stressed that “1 in 4 women has suffered from
gender based violence in Latin America”. Reporting on the progress made to tackle this issue she stated that “15 countries in Latin America have now changed their laws in the past 5 years to protect women and girls’ rights from gender based violence”. Pointing to particular initiatives by UN Women to help tackle the problem she highlighted how the organization is now “working to declare the region free of early marriage in 2

Deputy Attorney General Reyes next spoke about the progress made to date by the Dominican Republic in providing legal redress and continuous support to victims of violence, as well as guidance and reinsertion efforts to former perpetrators of violent crimes. She noted that “violence against women demands all stakeholders to intervene.” Pointing to some key figures she remarked that “between 2005-2016: 1,078 women lost their
lives in the Dominican Republic due to violent incidents” and that “80% of these women never reported these crimes to the public prosecutor.” Looking ahead she explained that the “Dominican Republic has been creating and strengthening their projects in preventing violence against women”. As part of these efforts she mentioned the creation of Men’s Behavioral Intervention Centers that seek to work with the perpetrators of these
crimes. She concluded her intervention by reminding the audience the importance of addressing this issue immediately as “women and girls have dreams, but femicide steals those dreams.”

Susan O’Malley, in her capacity as Chair of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women NY and joint partner of the side event, provided a brief introduction of Commissioner Cecile Noel of NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.

Looking at efforts being made at the city level, Commissioner Noel highlighted that “in the US, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime”. Arguing that “everyone deserves to live in a home free of violence” she pointed out that the City of New York “takes a multi-agency approach to combating domestic violence by providing services by the NYCPD, Courts, shelters,
community-based organizations, and more”. She explained that New York is a “progressive city with a tradition for serving the underserved” and underscored the important role played by the innovative Family Justice Centers, operating in four of the five NYC boroughs, which “increase safety for domestic violence survivors and their children providing greater access to service and strengthen collaboration between criminal justice, social services and
civil legal service providers.”

Focusing on local efforts to promote gender empowerment, Santana provided the final presentation on the results of GFDD’s ReCrearte program.  She explained that “more than 5,000 women have participated in the ReCrearte program”, highlighting that “its not just about transforming waste. Moreover, women have transformed their lives through the program”. Operating in 98 locations
throughout the Dominican Republic, she explained how the workshops were creating “a community of women that work together and feel special and empowered”. To illustrate the beneficial impact that the initiative had on women communities she concluded her presentation by screening a short video interview of one of her workshop participants Johanna Rivera.

The presentations were very well received and followed by a lively Q&A session moderated by
UN Programs & Outreach Manager Marc Jourdan. The session tackled a variety of issues ranging from the role of education to eradicate gender-based violence to the need to involve men in the debate to overcome these problems which are rooted in patriarchal societies and prejudices.

About CSW60
The sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 14 to 24 March
2016. The priority theme of the conference will be “Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development”, and the review theme “The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls (agreed conclusions from the fifty-seventh session).”

Ms. Luiza
Carvalho, Regional Director for the Americas and the Caribbean, UN Women

Ms. Roxanna Reyes, Deputy Attorney General for Women’s Affairs in the Dominican Republic
Commissioner Cecile Noel, New York City
Mayor””””””””””””””””s Office to Combat Domestic Violence

Ms. Bertha Santana, National Coordinator of the GFDD ReCrearte Program

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