SOCIETY / Violence against women: shame must change sides

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As part of her official trip to the Antilles, Justine Benin, interministerial coordinator against violence against women overseas, met last Friday in Saint-Martin with all the institutional actors, victim support associations and elected officials to identify the needs of the territory.

With Saint-Martin as the first stop on her mission, Justine Benin, interministerial coordinator against violence against women overseas, was welcomed by MP Frantz Gumbs as a preamble to the two round tables held at the CCISM in the morning of September 15, 2023. The figures for violence against women for the year 2022 are as dramatic as they are alarming: 538 acts of violence in Saint-Martin including 68 sexual violence with a significant increase of 20% since 2021. In 2022, 13 feminicides were committed in overseas territories. The Trait d'Union association welcomed 780 women into emergency accommodation. ALEFPA – Le Manteau has 12 places for women and 10 for men compared to 5 emergency places in a boarding house for women victims of violence. The region needs more suitable housing for victims, action which can be implemented by opening dialogue with social and private landlords through the exemption for associations. The Red Cross has taken over civil security operational approval 115 in the Northern Islands. Nine Grave Danger telephones made available to women victims of violence no longer work, due to a problem with the Orange operator which Justine Benin intends to resolve as quickly as possible. The emergency number 3919 is however operational. Filing a complaint is a problem in itself, apart from the question of the language barrier, it can only be done at the gendarmerie due to a lack of reference at the hospital or in court. For Justine Benin, a reflection on legal aid and criminal response must take place, such as the relevance of the anti-reconciliation bracelet in a narrow territory like Saint-Martin. The creation of a Center for Women and a one-stop shop for assistance to victims was discussed, as was binational cooperation and prevention and awareness campaigns in schools. The Community currently finances 50% of the salary of the social worker in the gendarmerie and 40% of that of a lawyer and a psychologist for Trait d'Union. In order to continue the implementation of partnership actions, the COM has just created the observatory of violence against women. Justine Benin will submit a pre-report next December followed by a return to the field in January 2024. _VX

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