In Antigua and Barbuda, the majority of sexual offences cases that come before the court involve female and child victims complainants. The JURIST Project and the Directorate of Gender Affairs (DoGA) understand the importance of being proactive in addressing these issues through awareness raising and education. Therefore, the JURIST Project in collaboration with the DoGA will be providing a platform for these issues to be scrutinized and discussed via a youth-led conference, namely #YouthForChange: Advocating For Social Justice from October 18 – 20, 2018. Early education will provide the youth of Antigua and Barbuda with the necessary tools, knowledge, and information to navigate unhealthy and toxic situations more effectively. They will be better able to recognize incidents of gender-based and sexual violence (GBSV) and feel more comfortable in seeking legal intervention and accessing justice.
Understanding that the arts are a powerful tool both for youth engagement and for advocacy, the conference further aims to give the youth an opportunity to create their own messaging. Using a variety of mediums, including music, written word, and visual art, the participants will create messaging to educate their peers about GBSV and the justice and recovery services available to them through the Sexual Offences Model Court (SOMC) and its interacting agencies. This way will not only develop tools for further advocacy, but also improve their own skills for engaging with others on the topic.
- To educate youth about consent and healthy social interaction;
- To address gender stereotypes and how they influence gender-based and sexual violence, and the public perception of both victims and perpetrators;
- To increase awareness of the services available for survivors of sexual assault, particularly the SOMC; and
- To decrease social stigma surrounding reporting sexual assault.
- 30 male and female youth between the ages of 10 and 13 years old (Group 1)
- 30 male and female youth between the ages of 14 and 17 years old (Group 2)
- 30 male and female youth between the ages of 18 and 35 years old (Group 3)
- Increased awareness among youth about consent and healthy social interaction.
- Increased understanding among youth about gender stereotypes, how these stereotypes GBV, and how they inform the public perception of both victims and perpetrators.
- Increased awareness of the services available for survivors of sexual assault, particularly the SOMC.
- Decreased social stigma surrounding reporting sexual assault.
Participants will create awareness raising materials about GBSV and the justice system, through various artistic methods (painting, drama, and writing). These materials will be utilized in the traditional and social media promotion for the SOMC.
Workshop Topics and Key Talking Points
- Wearing a gendered lens
- Sex vs Gender
- Gender stereotypes and socialization
- What is GBSV?
- Types of gender-based and sexual violence
- How does GBSV affect survivors?
- Building Healthy Boundaries
- What does consent mean?
- Who can give consent?
- Features of affirmative consent
- What is Rape Culture?
- How does rape culture affect survivors?
- How does rape culture affect perpetrators?
- Barriers to accessing justice
- Victim Blaming & Re-victimization
- Lack of information
- Lack of quality care and services
- The Justice Chain
- What is the Justice Chain?
- Who are the players?
- What is the Sexual Offences Model Court and why is it important?
- Finding the activist inside
- After a brief discussion on the role of the arts in creating social change, the facilitators will guide the participants in coming up with their own messaging to communicate the lessons learned throughout the day, and to encourage survivors of sexual violence to seek support and assistance.
Combatting sexual offences within any given society must involve addressing gendered beliefs and behaviours in addition to creating sound framework for the investigation and punishment of these crimes and providing adequate support services for survivors. In Antigua and Barbuda, the establishment of the SOMC, as supported by the JURIST Project is one such measure to ensure that our judicial system adequately handles cases of sexual violence. The ultimate goal of the JURIST Project is to develop a regional judicial system that is more responsive to the needs of vulnerable victims or complainants who’ve experienced sexual assault. The establishment of the SOMC forms part of a comprehensive approach to the management of sexual assault cases and the provision of support for complainants and witnesses, including children.