It is with a sad news that I start this post today. A a result of a domestic dispute gone too far – a woman was shot and killed in Orange Walk last night. More details on Love FM. Please take a moment of silence in her honor as we all did at the work shop this morning.
The dining hall at Banana Bank Lodge was filled with people attending the workshop and sharing a common goal to help eradicate domestic violence in Belize. It is a problem that affects between 1/3 and 1/4 of all women. This workshop grew so fast that the organizers had to tell people they could attend the second workshop in San Pedro as this one was full to capacity (date still to be announced) Everyone who attended the workshop saw a need to join hands – become better educated about domestic violence work together on overcoming challenges and finding viable solutions.
Violence against women is a global issue. United Against Abuse 2 day work shop is designed to bring together a cross section of service providers and victims together and is the beginning of an ongoing long term collaborative effort between groups to end violence against women in Belize. A few numbers that were put out there – 858 – 987 – 1351 – these are all reported cases if gender based violence against women for the years 2006 – 2007 – 2008. These statistics are based on reported cases of violence. The reality is we know there are still many unreported cases even though as you can see from the numbers women are starting to speak out.
Joanne O’Brien of Direct Abundance met with Miss Humes last week to get a better understanding of what work is already being done here in Belize to combat domestic abuse. There are many changes happening such as bringing more awareness around the issue, forming support groups for survivors, working towards more shelter space and groups for abusive men. Joanne asked Miss Humes what was most needed and the answer was clear more shelter space – preferably one in each district. Joanne pointed out that as it stands there are more animal shelters in Belize than than there are shelters for women and children. Not to dismiss the animals that need help but more resources need to be available for people as well.
Guest list included – Women’s Issues Network – Police Domestic Violence Unit – Port Loyola Cavalry – Productive Organization for Women In Action – Trinity Church – Mary Open Doors – Catholic Child Development Center – Haven House – Holy Cross – ITVET Toledo District – NOPCAN – YES – Mile 14 Group Home DHS – Anglican Dioceses – Belize Family Life Association – Belize Central Prison – Minister of Education Cayo – Stella Maris School – University of Belize – Winners – Direct Abundance – Word at Work – BNE Charitable Trust – St Ignacious High School – Ambergris Daily – Love FM – tacogirl.com. If you are not on the list and would like to be please leave comment with your organization name.