Over 100 visit Safe Haven’s women’s festival

POSTED: 11/8/11 6:17 PM

St. Maarten – Between 100 and 150 people visited Safe Haven Foundation’s third annual women’s festival at the Clem Labega Square on Saturday. The event was opened with a prayer by Edna Rijkaard and words of support from the Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and President of Parliament drs Gracita Arrindell. Wescot-Williams stressed the importance of togetherness and understanding between men and women, while Arrindell urged the public to support Safe Haven in its struggle against Domestic Violence.

President of the Safe Haven Foundation’s Board Oldine Panthoplet used the occasion to stress that people should report their abuse to the police. Denise Richardson, who has been the victim of an abusive partner, told her emotionally charged story, including the fact that her former boyfriend beat her up four months into her pregnancy. She had to get 20 stitches because of the injuries she suffered.
“It was very brave to share her horrific story of abuse,” Safe Haven Director Loyola Seymonson wrote in statement.
Motiance dance group performed Ira (Anger), using singing and dancing to symbolize domestic abuse, Lenworth Wilson performed poetry and the Parach children dance group performed an African song as part of the festival before Caribbean Sunshine Steelpan band delivered the day’s final performances and Seymonson recited the poem I got flowers today. The reading was meant to remind the public that there is no excuse for abuse.
“We have to speak out against it,” Seymonson said.
Lydia Henderson served as D.J. for the day and both the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation and the St. Maarten Diabetes Foundation shared information during the festival.

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