Categorized | National News

Dozens of Abused Mothers Living in Safe Houses

The Links Safe House for Women in Crisis is force to house up to 50 battered and abused mothers seeking refuge from domestic violence in their homes each year.

Chairman of the facility Sharon Wilson said the amount of cases recorded each year is alarming.

“The Nassau chapter of Links has operated a safe house for women in crisis and the whole purpose of the house is to accept women who find themselves in situations of crisis arising from a whole myriad of social reasons,” she said.

“We do try to work with these women to get them back on their feet and yes it is alarming, violence against women but also abuse in so many other forms.”

The state-of-the-art facility consists of four rooms to accommodate women or mothers with their children, Ms. Wilson said that those rooms are always filled to capacity.

The safe house provides counselling, food, clothes, shelter and whatever else is needed for a period of three months for the women who seek help.

After a three month period, Links partners with the Social Services Department and other agencies to assist the women with finding a job if need be or finding living accommodations.

Referrals usually come from Social Services and the church.

Ms. Wilson added that Links also partners with the police force to ensure the safety of the women.

When asked why she believes the levels of violence of against women occur in such high numbers, Ms. Wilson said that fundamentally there is an absence of basic respect.

“In our country, respect has been eroded over a long period of time for individuals and institutions and it think that is poor,” she said.

“We have to be very intentional, focused, conscientiousness about restoring respect and I know that sounds wide but that’s the only way I can say it. I think we need to go back to building up respect, generally and with that will come interpersonal respect, respect for each other , it can make a difference in the respect men can show our women and children.”

The facility also provides housing for female college students from the Family Islands, the capital or from any local children’s home who simply cannot afford living accommodations.

The two additional rooms, outfitted as a dormitory can house up to 14 individuals.

The young women are able to stay until their studies are completed or able to venture out on their own.

Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin along with other female parliamentarians recently spoke out regarding violence against women during the announcement of an upcoming two day regional meeting.

“This is an issue that is worldwide but we have to get to the place in The Bahamas where it is not culturally acceptable to be physically or verbally abusive, demeaning to a woman for whatever cultural reason there may be embedded in the psyche of individuals,” she said.

“We have to take a very strong stance against those sort of things; the ultimate outcome could be quite serious or severe. These sorts of experiences can stay with you for the rest of your life and it will impact your quality of life and ability to function wholly. ”

The safe house has been functional since 2003 and the Links Nassau chapter will celebrate their 25 anniversary on Tuesday.

The Links group is an international, not-for-profit corporation, established in 1946.

The membership consists of professional women of colour and it is one of the oldest and largest volunteer service organisations of extraordinary women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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