Categorized | National News

Dating Violence – a silent epidemic

Dating Violence is a widespread issue that has serious short and long term effects.  Many young people do not report it because they are either afraid or ashamed.

Adult victims of rape, physical violence and or stalking by an intimate partner  have reported experiencing some form of partner violence between the ages of eleven and seventeen.

Denise Major, Executive Director of the Bahamas Sexual Health and Rights Association, formerly known as Bahamas Family Planning is hosting a four day seminar and high school tour to launch a new campaign in the schools called  “Love Smart.”

Guest host and primary speaker will be American Valerie Williams, who was a victim of domestic violence.

Sharing her story for the first-time internationally, Ms. Williams has partnered with  Ms.Major to impact teens in The Bahamas

Ms. Williams was shot in the head by her ex-husband who would later have a reduced sentence and is now out of jail. To heal, Ms. Williams wrote a book and now has an organization that warns teen girls of the dangers of violence in dating.  Her goal is to have them get out before it’s too late.

Ms. Major says  “the timing is right. There have been domestic violence cases in The Bahamas where women were found brutally killed and other cases where children were witnesses to these horrendous events.

Ms. Major also stated  “here, there are so many variables for women because the country doesn’t recognize marital rape and formally, gender equality is not recognized.

“There are situations where some young girls find themselves in situations where they think domestic violence, physically and mentally is normal and so they expect it.”

Ms. Williams continued, “with this tour, we hope to bring light to the situation by showing them just how violent it can get with Valerie’s incredible story of survival.”

Ms. Major further stated, “Our young people are involved in unhealthy relationships. They are involved in relationships where hitting each other is normal. They are calling each other degrading names and posting inappropriate photos online.

“They are forcing each other to engage in unwanted and unlawful sexual acts and if one party decides to leave,  stalking and threats of harm ensue.”
The ultimate goal is to stop dating violence before it starts,  but in situations where it is already happening,  we want to provide them with tools needed to recognize the signs and get help, Ms. Major indicated.

The tour is scheduled for Government High School, C. C. Sweeting Senior High School, and Doris Johnson Senior High Schools, where both Ms. Williams and Ms. Major will speak. They will also give lectures  to church groups including, Bahamas Faith Ministries, Second Chance Youth Group and  hold  a relationship seminar hosted by Kingdom Discipleship Church.

Domestic violence awareness month is in October.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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