By Benjamin Flowers: Today, the National Women’s Commission (NWC) strongly condemned recent incidents that have been videoed and shared on social media showing the torture of a minor and a woman being held hostage with a machete.
The Commission also took issue with the fact that the heinous acts are being widely shared regardless if they are being shared with a genuine desire to spread awareness.
“The actions of the perpetrators are strongly condemned. These gruesome acts of violence should be stopped. Some may post these images to bring awareness to the incident, however, the public must be reminded that there are other platforms that can be used to shed light on them. The direct or indirect effects of these videos to survivors and their families are immediate and long-lasting,” the NWC said.
The Commission demanded that authorities prioritize investigation into the two incidents and that the persons responsible be held accountable. The NWC also called for more stringent laws to punish those who reshare traumatic material over social media.
The NWC also noted that the public can call hotlines 0-800-A-WAY-OUT as well as the mobile number 672-9628 to request urgent assistance from the Belize Police Department in situations of domestic abuse. The Commission additionally reminded the public there are Women and Family Support Offices countrywide that provide immediate housing support via shelters and safe spaces that can be reached at the following numbers: Belize: 227-7397/3888 San Pedro: 206-4625; Cayo: 804-2098; Orange Walk: 302-2058; Belmopan: 822-2161; Stann Creek: 502-0038; Punta Gorda: 702-2021.
Notably, police have arrested and charged three people in connection with the torture of the minor over the weekend. Investigations into the woman being held hostage with the machete are reportedly still ongoing.