Aruba, Latin America
Viola Van Bogaert


“Growing up in a privileged environment I have been seldom confronted with or exposed to violence. When I came to Aruba however I learned rather quick that domestic violence within the Aruban society is a huge problem. On the request of several students of the university we organized in 2011 a debate on domestic violence, entitled: Nos ta un sociedad cu ta accepta violencia (“Our society accepts (domestic) violence”). When speaking with our students it became clear to me that the majority of Aruba’s children experience domestic violence. During my time in Aruba I have been approached by several people suffering from the consequences of different forms of domestic violence. In the Aruban society most – if not all – the risk factors for domestic violence are present: the average population is low-educated, has been exposed to child maltreatment or has witnessed violence between parents or in the family and there is a general attitude within society of acceptance of violence and gender inequality. Violence generates violence and violence leads to serious health issues, which affect mostly the most vulnerable groups in society, like women and children. This problem, of course, is not confined to one Caribbean Island; it is a global one. Domestic violence is at the same time culturally or regionally determined. I am in favor of the development of a global binding norm on violence against women through a grassroots approach. This can help address the problem of domestic violence in general: through the grassroots approach cultural or regional differences can be bridged and a global international binding norm can provide grassroots movements with a moral and legal tool to more effectively address violence.”

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