Hope Haven highlights the importance of understanding domestic violence and what can be done

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

Domestic violence has been an ongoing issue affecting communities across the globe. The recent events involving public figures, such as the case between the Leader of the Opposition (LOO) and his fiancée, leave no doubt that this issue affects everyone in society. In San Pedro Town, stakeholders have launched initiatives such as Hope Haven Children’s Home and the Hope Haven Domestic Violence Outreach Center to tackle this concern and guide victims safely out of unhealthy situations.

Both Hope Haven Children’s Home and the Hope Haven Domestic Violence Outreach Center are under the non-profit organization Raise Me Up. Operations Director Kristina Romero weighed on the situation that affects San Pedranos and people across the country daily. Romero stressed the importance of understanding that blaming the victim instead of the perpetrator serves no purpose. A vivid advocate of domestic violence, Romero shared her experience of living under an abusive partner.

Kristina Romero

To better understand this problem, Romero explained that domestic violence comes in different forms. “These can be sexual assaults, physical assaults, emotional and even financial abuse,” said Romero. She described these various forms of domestic abuse as a cycle of violence. One example is tension building, whereby the abuser may have issues outside of the home and lash out at their partner. According to Romero, this is described as an acute explosion leading to battering, rape, destruction of property, and humiliating the other person. This may be the climax of the situation where authorities such as the police are involved.

The most recent case that caught the country’s attention involved the LOO, Honourable Patrick Faber, and his fiancée Dr. Shanikka Arnold. Faber was accused of assaulting Arnold and breaking her laptop computer. Police issued an arrest warrant. This incident, not the first one, left Faber with no other option but to resign as LOO and Leader of the United Democratic Party.

Honourable Patrick Faber and his fiancée Dr. Shanikka Arnold

Forgiveness, promises, and why victims tolerate abuse

However, the other part of the cycle is the promise from the aggressor that it will not happen again. The promise is to get counseling, make a change, and save the union. The victim, in most cases, stays in the relationship, does not proceed with legal actions, and is comforted and feels hopeful.

Hope Haven sees the importance of empowering victims for them to be independent. Many do not leave an abusive relationship because they may not have the means to sustain themselves. To help survivors move on, Hope Haven offers them entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy training. “If we give them the tools and skills needed, they will be able to provide for themselves and their children, empowering them to be able to leave the abusive relationship,” said Romero.

What to do?

Victims of domestic violence should never hesitate to seek help. In San Pedro, the recently established Hope Haven Domestic Violence Outreach Center provides police assistance, legal aid, emergency placements, Women’s Department assistance, and accessible mental health services. Anyone needing help can visit the center opening from 9AM to 4PM Monday to Friday. For any emergencies after hours or weekends, please contact the police. The can center can also be reached via their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HopeHavenBZ and emails can also be sent to [email protected].

The team at Hope Haven engages young teenagers and educates them on red flags when it comes to unhealthy relationships. These red flags identified include emotional and physical abuse, controlling nature, threats, and humiliation. One of the most important messages from the center to the community and those suffering in silence is that help is readily available. There will always be someone willing to listen to their hardships and find ways to help. In cases where children are in the middle of an abusive relationship, the center believes a child should grow up with a healthy single parent than in a home with domestic violence and abuse.


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