GENDER Relations Minister Dr. Gale Rigobert has called on St Lucian men to refrain from responding in ways that can endanger them and their loved ones in dealing with the various challenges confronting them.
In a message to mark International Men’s Day last Sunday, Dr.Rigobert also urged men to seek counsel when necessary through the various government agencies and institutions, churches, family members and friends.
Noting that the Day which is sanctioned by the United Nations, has received support around the world she made the point that St Lucia was officially marking the observance for the fifth year. The aim, she said, was to make life better, not just for grown men but for young males alike.
Said Dr.Rigobert: “International Men’s Day is an occasion for men to highlight discrimination against them and to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular their contributions to community and nation building, family, marriage and child care.”
The Minister added: “ I recognize the invaluable contributions that you make to family, community and the sustainable development of our country. I also recognize the many challenges that you may face at various stages of your lives, and I implore you to refrain from responding in ways that can endanger you and your loved ones and to seek counsel when necessary through the various government agencies and institutions, your churches, family members and friends.
“I would like to appeal to men who are able to be of good examples to other men and young men to take on the role of mentors in your respective communities and provide the guidance and support to other males to help them deal with some of the challenges that continue to hinder their progress. I would like men and young men to organize by forming advocacy groups to articulate their concerns as a collective. I am appealing to all men to take their health, including mental health seriously and avail themselves of the many public and private health services that are present throughout the country. We continue to be concerned about what seems to be an increase in the cases of gender-based violence including sexual violence perpetrated by men against the women and children in our society. I am appealing to all men to take action through education and advocacy and empower other men to end the violence perpetrated by their male peers. Men and boys should not continue to be seen as the problem, they must become part of the solution in ending this scourge in our country”.
The highlight of this year’s observance for International Men’s Day was a Fathers Fun Sports Day organized by the Division of Gender Relations and the Soufriere Youth and Sports Council, at the Soufriere Mini Stadium in Soufriere on Sunday.