Domestic violence awareness month starts “Violence is happening all around us”

POSTED: 11/7/12 12:47 PM

St. Maarten – The Safe Haven Foundations wants people to stop turning their backs on acts of domestic violence in the society but instead choose to speak out against all forms of violence. The foundation has designated the month of November as domestic violence awareness month and has adopted a local theme, Violence Free Living: Basic Human Right for All, for its month long activities.

Speaking on the theme Safe Haven Foundation director Loyola Seymonson said “I really think we had to bring it a little broader because violence is not only within the family. Violence, it is all over, everyone is affected, men, women and children. Even the man who is the abuser is affected because when the woman leaves him to seek shelter, the family falls apart and the society is affected.”

Seymonson reflected on two recent cases of domestic violence that resulted in deaths and said that domestic violence issues need to become a part of the national agenda.

“It has to start in government, we need some examples and campaigns from higher officials but we don’t see those things. We all have to be involved. Violence is happening all around us. Why should women be afraid to walk on the streets at night because of all of the violent robberies that are happening? Why should children be afraid that they will get bullied on the bus by fellow students or young girl that she will get raped? It is like breathing air not to be exposed to violence.”

The Safe Haven Foundation has organized a series of events to raise awareness on domestic violence and show support for victims and survivors.

This Saturday will see the start of activities with the organization’s 4th annual women’s festival. The festival starts at 10:00 am and will be opened by the Prime Minister. It will include a flea market, the proceeds of which will be donated to the foundation, exhibitions by the Positive, Aids and Diabetes Foundations as well as a kids corner. Poetry reading, music and awareness talks on domestic violence will also form part of the women’s festival.

Activities will continue with an awareness and prevention workshop on Saturday November 17 from 8:00 am at the Belvedere Community Center. On Thursday November 22, a women empowerment lecture will be held at the Philipsburg Jubilees Library from 7 pm.

Seymonson said that she is especially looking forward to the third annual silent witness march on Saturday November 24 from 6 pm. The march starts from the library, heads to the Court House and then returns to the library.

“This silent witness march is to remember all the persons that died from domestic abuse. It is very important that people come out. Every time we get people but we need to have more people come out to activities like this. It is happening a lot in our community and this candle light vigil will send a strong message,” she added.

Seymonson said that her foundation will provide candles and refreshments during the event and are hoping that people will come out and provide powerful testimonies.

Domestic violence awareness month will send with a fundraising fashion show on Friday November 30 at the Impulze club from 7 pm.

“People need to talk and speak out about it. But we don’t talk about it, we melee about it but that can’t help. Domestic violence, in particular, should not be put in the chamber. Stop using violence as a communication because that is not communication,” the Safe Haven director has concluded.


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