All Women, Woman of the Week

Woman of the week – Catherine Sealys

Image of Catherine Sealys

It is always being said that women are women’s worst enemies and that we, as a gender, could be so much further if only we stuck together and stood up for each other.

Well my WOTW is proving that this is far from the case as she has made it her life’s duty to stand up for women in St. Lucia and children as well who suffer on a daily basis at the hands of strangers, and worst still, loved ones.

Catherine Sealys is the 13th of 15 children from Pierrot, Vieux Fort (however, she has 26 siblings in total by mother and father) who recently celebrated her 50th birthday.

Image of Catherine Sealys
Catherine Sealys

Sealys is the interim President of the advocacy group “Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc.” She has recently become a frequent face on television and is famous…or infamous depending on what side of the fence one stands.

This firecracker is a true SHERO because she is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, nor is she afraid of the consequences, as long as she knows that she acted in accordance with the law.

Sealys is well known to speak her mind and is a sociable and adventurous character who in her own words, is “determined to live life to the fullest”.

Sealys said her personality stems on the fact that she focuses primarily on the big picture, and not so much on details. She prides herself on being highly philosophical, and for having a keen interest in figuring out deep subjects

Fortunately for those who depend on her, and unfortunately for those who oppose her, Sealys said she loves a challenge. She said: “I do believe I can bring about change within the social services to ensure better treatment and services for under-represented and disadvantaged people.”

Asked to reveal where her undying and warrior like passion comes from Sealys said: “I always feel offended when people treat the underprivileged badly. We were a poor rural family and what we had going for us was family unity and support. I have never forgotten when the father of my children did not support them, when I struggled but prevailed because my brothers and sisters would help by making sure I had food to cook and money to pay bills. By the way I have 26 brothers and sisters by mother and father combined. In short I have never forgotten where I have come from.”

She revealed that the organisation initially started as women’s advocate within the United Workers’ Party’s Women’s Arm. However, politics soon took precedence and in Sealys opinion, began to overshadow the organisation’s aims. This was when they formed an independent non-political group to advocate for women and children who are victims of rape, child sexual, physical and emotional abuse, victims of domestic violence..

In the organisation, the policy position and direction of the social services has become a major concern as they believe that under social services, women become scared and dependent as opposed to empowered. It is with that notion that it has become a main aim to establish a stable base to provide advocacy, legal aid, counselling and psychological support services for victims and survivors

Sealys’ stance has even landed her in hot water, and as a result is awaiting a court case on February 10. What happened? She was arrested for allegedly using foul language after she asked about the circumstances regarding the arrest and imprisonment of a 16 year old who had been a ward of the state.

With that said, Sealys stated that whilst she is assertive and very determined, she is careful never to disrespect anyone. On the other hand, she said: “But I will argue my case to the last sentence. I am prepared to put in whatever it takes so the underprivileged, voiceless, poor and under-represented can walk into a government office and be treated as a citizen”

When asked what she hopes for in 2017 regarding the well-being of women and children in St. Lucia, she said: “1. Review and Enact OECS Family Law Bills and amend specific pieces of legislation to ensure parity among women and children. 2. Build the capacity of the Justice System i.e. Police, Office of the Director of Public Prosecution and the Courts to better solve crime and bring swift justice to victims. 3. Establishment of a permanent Hall of Justice. 4. Re-commission the Forensic Laboratory. 5. Establish a shelter for victims of sexual assault. This is what we want for 2017 and we intend to advocate to see it’s done.”

Now you know I always ask for a secret, and would you believe it…I got two!

Sealys revealed that 1. She is petrified of lizards and 2. she became a proud grandmother three months ago.

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