Belize Makes Strides in Domestic Abuse Campaigns

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Updated: November 17, 2015

Domestic Abuse is an issue that has been discussed time and time again and even more so as we enter into the 16 Days of Activism program under the Women’s Department.  But how beneficial or how well have these discussions and awareness campaigns helped those who are victims of domestic violence or gender based violence.  We asked Cynthia Williams, who heads the Women’s Department.

CYNTHIA WILLIAMS

“It depends on the area that you are asking because one of the things that we are finding is that people still feel that they don’t want to discuss the fact that they may be in an abusive relationship because it brings a lot of shame in it. They feel as if they would be losing something or had done something wrong at the same time. So what we find on our end in terms of clients that come in is a variety of clients some of them report it whilst some of them want information in terms of what are things that they can do. So they don’t necessarily state it but they might come in for information. When it comes to other areas we see some rise in numbers but one of the things that we are happy to see is that this year as part of the UN Trust Fund we are able to look at a survey to see how we can begin to measure because that is one of the things that we need to work on in terms of actually providing factual information in terms of what the reality is which we don’t really know. When it comes to reporting, we see a bit of number increase on a yearly basis but it usually continues to be the same districts over and over but in comparison it’s not that much but it doesn’t meant that the numbers are not rising but sometimes people even though they have the information and know that they are in abusive relationships they feel that they are unable to leave those situations.”

Williams says that there are positive impacts taking place but the results are difficult to measure.

CYNTHIA WILLIAMS

“In some areas we do because we can definitely see in some of the women’s groups where they have the information and they feel that they are empowered and they share that with other women. We do see impact in terms of that sense. We really have not done an analysis to really measure and say that these are some of the numbers that have been affected and this is how their lives have change. I think it’s really hard to do that because when we really want to measure the impact it is a long term impact that we are trying to ensure we do because we are working with children who we are hoping that with the information and the training and workshops and just the activities that we have with them we help them to be able to understand and be able to see violence that for many of them it has become normalized so if we get to at least help them to understand that that is not a normal way of living and that it is wrong, violence is wrong then we at least can say that we have had an impact in the lives of those children. The same would be for adolescents and the same would be for women. Its very hard to measure impact but at the same time we have to take stock and be able to say what we are doing and be able to say that if it is not making an impact how we can change it. That is something that we do on a yearly basis especially as we approach 16 Days because 16 Days of activism is an observance that we have and uphold from November 25 up to December 10th of every year but the work continues beyond those sixteen days and so that awareness and that analysis has to be something that we constantly do not only as an organization but as a individuals if you really want to make sure we impact those who we serve.”

Love News will be keeping you updated on the upcoming events under the 16 days of activism.