|Social Services go on 'offensive' against domestic violence (abuse)|
|Monday, 09 July 2012 10:21|
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Officials of the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development July 5 kicked off the first in a series of workshops on Domestic Violence designed to reduce, if not “stamp out”, the number of cases of violence perpetrated against women, children and in some instances men, in the country.
The workshops serve as a critical part of the Ministry’s new thrust for the promotion of safe children, safe families, safe homes and safe communities programme. Minister of Social Services and Community Development, the Hon. Melanie S. Griffin said while violence in the family “is by no means a new speck in the eye of the Bahamian family dynamics”, its increasing presence and growing prevalence “is taking on new dimensions and affecting families in greater ways.”
Mrs. Griffin further said that while there is no single cause for the growing prevalence, what cannot be discounted, particularly in the cases of family violence or domestic violence, is the fact that “hurting people, hurt other people.” “When a man can beat his wife mercilessly and claim afterwards that he does not know why he beat her except to make her feel the same pain he feels, this demonstrates that his hurt and angry feelings have gone unchecked and sadly have expressed themselves in violence towards who is supposed to be the object of his love, protection and devotion,” Mrs. Griffin added.
Mrs. Griffin said domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence, is defined as a pattern of abusive behaviours by one partner against another in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family or cohabitation (living together).
It includes violent acts such as hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, slapping and restraining. Threats and sexual assaults, controlling and intimidation tactics, stalking and economic deprivation (withholding money), are also included among the acts. “We become alarmed every time we view a You-Tube video of Bahamian students fighting in the schoolyard or classroom; we become alarmed as we watch the murder count climb, but do we become alarmed when we hear loud crashes and screams from the house next door?
“Most of us peer out of our windows and listen for a while, but soon after we go casually back to our chores or other distractions forgetting very easily what is happening in our neighbours' homes. “We have to act immediately to eliminate the hurt and heal the wounds in the hearts of our people before they contaminate, fester and destroy our families altogether,” Mrs. Griffin added.
Minister Griffin said it was noted during a 2010 Symposium held leading up to the formation of a draft National Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Management of Family Violence, that the challenge to eradicate family violence was tremendous and that it required “the involvement of all sectors of society, and in particular, a strong partnership between men and women.”
The symposium also concluded that “it was a matter of urgency” to provide the necessary services for those affected to prevent further social damage and protect the health and well-being of affected individuals, while further suggesting that “services ought to be provided for the perpetrators as well as the victims of family violence.”
“One of the ten Guiding Principles outlined in that draft document called for stakeholders to engage in public education, community awareness and training beyond initial awareness,” Mrs. Griffin continued. “Our presence here tonight is proof that my ministry is making strides to brining greater attention to the problem of family violence with the view of increasing awareness that will lead to the elimination of violence.“We realise that much, much more needs to be done in the coming weeks and months and we pledge to undertake the challenge to continue efforts to effect positive changes in our country.”
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