Women's Week Workshop Takes On Domestic Violence

By JEFFARAH GIBSON Tribune Features Writer IN an effort to bring awareness to the fight against domestic violence, the Crisis Centre in collaboration with the Women's Bureau will host a workshop on domestic violence Thursday, during Women's Week. National Women's week is set aside to reflect on the accomplishments of women. This year, the Bureau of Women's Affairs plans to celebrate the women's suffrage movement and other national issues affecting women. Domestic violence is a priority issue, as it accounts for half of the murders in the Bahamas, according to State for Social Services, Loretta Butler Turner. In August Mrs Butler Turner said that of the homicides that took place in the past two years a fair number can be attributed to domestic violence. Domestic violence is a serious issue that must be addressed, said Christine Campbell, first assistant secretary of Bureau of Women's Affairs. "If you are living in the Bahamas you would know that we have been appalled with horrific situations that have occurred because of domestic violence. There was the incident with the charity worker who was stabbed to death. There were also two pregnant women who were killed this year and I am still trying to understand why would someone kill a pregnant woman. Where does all of this rage come from and why are things like this happening?" asked Ms Campbell. "Domestic violence needs to be talked about which is why the workshop is being held. We want people who know battered women to encourage them to seek help," she said. Tribune Woman spoke to several people who shared their views on domestic violence. "I was a victim of domestic violence. My ex-husband never physically abused me, but he was verbally abusive. Almost every morning there was an argument. He was possessive and controlling and I had to just get out of that marriage because either I would have ended up dead or he would have ended up dead. We realised we could agree better after our divorce," said 48-year-old Patrice Miller*. Alicia, 23, told Tribune Woman that domestic violence not only has physical impact, but also has emotional impact. "Some men beat women, I guess because they want to feel masculine or more like a man and they do things to instil fear into women. Domestic violence is a very serious issue. It not only leaves a person physically scarred, but also emotionally scarred, especially when children are involved. If a child grows up in an environment where parents are constantly fighting they will emulate what it is they see," said 23-year-old Alicia. "I have not been abused, but my mother was and because of what I was exposed to I acted out in school. I cursed out teachers, fought my school mates and did a lot of other things. But now I have tamed myself. I act out from time to time, but it is not as bad as it was," she said. Lionel, 20, said family life classes need to be revamped to address issues of domestic violence. "There is much more that could be done to address domestic violence. We need to start teaching kids about domestic violence from in school. Family life classes need to be developed and their needs to be many more seminars on domestic violence," said Lionel. "Something needs to be done about this. Too many people are being killed and abused as a result of domestic violence. People need to know and become much more aware of this issue," said 35-year-old Miriam. Women's week began with a church service on Sunday at St Joseph's Catholic Church. A power breakfast is scheduled for Saturday, November 26.


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