Domestic violence is an egregious act against women in the Barbadian society, therefore, it is paramount that the implementation of a structured program can help mitigate the problems precipitated by domestic violence. This proposal focuses on the implementation of a facility which will act as a refuge and offer a combination of educational prevention, crisis intervention approaches and long-term treatments for victims of abuse. This program will help Barbados based on the successful implementation of similar programs in the United States and Australia.
According to Liesel Daisley, President of the Services Alliance for Violent Encounters (SAVE) Foundation, 1 in 3 women are victims of abuse (par. 3). The Royal Barbados Police Force reported that at July 24, 2018, there have been 204 incidents filed and that does not reflect on the number of incidents that go unreported or the current statistics for the present date (Griffith, par. 1). When implemented “Safe Haven” will be a facility where battered women and their children, if any; can seek refuge. It will offer a combination of educational prevention, crisis intervention approaches and long-term treatments for victims. This facility will seek to rehabilitate women and help them transition back to a normal lifestyle after an abusive relationship.
I am a first-year student at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus and I am currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Economics & Accounting; with the hopes of becoming a financial analyst after graduating. These credentials make me qualified to plan and execute this proposal as my majors require aspects of financial management which is a necessity for managing the finances of an organization.
The purpose of this proposal is to help prevent domestic violence among Barbadian women. It will also seek to educate and raise awareness on the impact of violence against women in our society.
The proposal focuses on a structured program which offers educational prevention, crisis intervention approaches, and long-term treatments in an attempt to prevent violence against women in Barbados.
The information in this proposal was gathered using primary and secondary research methods. The primary research was by means of a telephone interview, whereas, the secondary research was by means of websites, news articles, and scholarly journals. It must be noted that the telephone interview with a victim of domestic violence was spontaneous and she wishes to remain anonymous.
The Impact of Domestic Violence Against Women in Barbados
This study conducted research in Barbados to educate and raise awareness amongst women and the public, on the impact of domestic violence against women. The research focused on the physical abuse among Barbadian women, the difficulties leaving abusive relationships and samples of cases taken from across the community. Domestic violence, or family violence, is abusive or coercive behaviors in a marriage or relationship (“Abuse Defined”, par. 1). It is not only physical, but it is also categorized as having a psychological, sexual, social and financial impact (see Figure 1).
It is common knowledge that people prefer to turn a blind eye and steer clear of domestic violence as it is one of those taboo topics (“The Truth”, par. 1). Due to the rapid advancement in technology and social media, awareness of domestic violence has been on a rise in Barbados. In some cases, the abuse led to the demise of the victim at the hands of the abuser. In an interview with Loop News, President of the Services Alliance for Violent Encounters (SAVE) Foundation, Liesel Daisley, stated that 1 in every 3 women are victims of abuse (par. 3).
Physical abuse happens when a person uses physical force against another person. It can start slowly and inconspicuously, for example, with throwing an object or a slap and intensifies over time. These assaults are abusive and can escalate to punching, choking, burning and using weapons. On 8 February 2009, Barbadian superstar Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty was brutally, physically assaulted by then-boyfriend Christopher “Chris” Brown. According to news reports, Rihanna sustained multiple contusions about the face and body from the altercation (see Figure 2) (TMZ, par. 1).
In 1979 a study developed by Dr. Lenore Walker, the cycle of violence focused on the repetitive nature of the abuser’s actions, describes the three stages that lead up to a violent event and why women stayed in an abusive relationship (see Figure 3). The tension-building stage is where the tension in the relationship increases and verbal or emotional abuse occurs. For women experiencing abuse, this can be very terrifying as anything they do wrong can cause the abuser to explode. Reaching a point where a release of tension is inevitable, an acute explosion occurs. The abuser violently lashes out and this behavior can become usual. In the honeymoon stage, the abuser may feel remorseful and try to justify his actions by blaming the victim or other factors such as alcohol or stress at work. At this point, the abuser apologizes and makes promises to seek help and that the violence won’t happen again. Believing the abuser can change, the victim ignores the possibility that the cycle may begin again (“Understand Domestic Violence”, par. 2).
The reality is that the most dangerous time for a victim is when she leaves an abusive partner. There are many factors an abused partner must consider such as, fear of retaliation and stalking; which could regrettably lead to the possibility of death. When children are involved, custodial arrangements can be further complicated due to concerns for their safety. The law is not always effective as a deterrent for domestic violence, in some cases, the victims are left vulnerable if their abuser walks free or gets a lighter sentence (“Barriers”, par. 1).
On 8 September 2018, a resident of Crab Hill was viciously attacked by her ex-lover. The attacker was able to inflict extensive damage on the victim before she was able to escape and seek help (see Figure 4). The victim’s family recounted the numerous occasions complaints were made to several different police stations for the attacker, who is a former police officer and lashed out at the Royal Barbados Police Force for not acting in a timely manner. A protection order was issued to the victim two months prior to the incident but that didn’t prevent him from breaching it multiple times. The victim’s sister called for justice for her sister and other women experiencing abuse and stated that preventive measures need to be put in place (Cummins, 40).
In an interview with a victim, she recounted feeling stunned at the first violent encounter and thought it was just that once. The abuse got worse as time progressed, which left her feeling alone and depressed. The victim’s and the abuser’s families were unaware of the violence in the relationship; until she was left hospitalized with serious injuries. The abuser struck her repeatedly about the face with an object and stabbed her in the hand (see Figures 5 & 6). The abuser’s brother walked in on the violent dispute and was able to intervene. The altercation left her to rely on her family during the recovery process, as she needed assistance to get out of bed and to use the bathroom. Reaching a point where she no longer wanted to feel worthless and weak, she built the courage to walk away from the abusive relationship.
The Successful Implementation of Structured Programs Study
In the United States and Australia, the implementation of structured programs has been successful in lessening the occurrence of domestic violence while helping women transition back to a normal lifestyle after an abusive relationship. These organizations provide help free of cost to women by offering domestic violence hotlines, immediate shelter at their facilities, counseling and group support.
Research indicated that Hubbard House has assisted 5,000 victims each year (par. 5). In its 42-year history the domestic violence hotline has answered more than 91,000 calls and provided shelter for more than 36,800 victims and their children (“About Hubbard House”, par. 1). The community-based intervention program has advocates within the Jackson Ville Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Children and Families. Advocates at the JSO assess police reports; victims who are at a high risk are offered assistance. The advocates at the DCF work alongside caseworkers and families who are victims of abuse. In addition to the programs offered to victims and their children, there is also a Batterer’s Intervention Program for abusers. This research proves that Hubbard House has made a significant impact by raising awareness and saving lives with their community-based intervention and outreach programs (“About Hubbard House”, par. 4).
In reviewing research studies from the ACT’s (Act Counseling & Treatments, Inc.) Mary Jane’s Hope residential program, one study followed women for two years to assess the efficiency of a community-based advocacy for survivors. Advocates worked with women for several hours over the course of ten weeks and were vastly experienced to help with leadership, education, employment among other issues. It was reported that 1 out of 4 (24%) of the survivors experienced no physical abuse and 1 out of 10 (11%) of women remained completely free of violence, over the two years of post-intervention follow-up. This study provided evidence that shows if programs improved survivors’ leadership skills, a support system and access to resources, these defensive factors can boost their well-being and quality of living (“Residential Program”, par. 9).
Studies show that legal procedures are inadequate to let victims and their families feel safe in their homes. In Australia, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) offers educational, crisis and long-term support to victims. The Women/Families–Staying@Home program provides assessments, planning, monitoring, advocacy and linking women and families with the support and services required. The program provides continuous support so that victims and their families can stay rooted to their homes and maintain connections to their social networks, jobs, education and stability for their children which is a part of the rehabilitation process (‘Women/Families”, par. 3).
Based on the success of these organizations, a structured program which offers educational prevention, crisis intervention and long-term treatments will be effective in the mitigation of violence against women. Implementing this program in Barbados will not only seek to reduce the high rise in domestic violence occurrences; but it will also assist the BPW Shelter for Abused Women, the lone facility on the island.
I am proposing to implement a long-term facility which will act as a refuge and offer a combination of specialized programs for women and their children who are victims of domestic violence. The implementation of this facility can help prevent domestic violence in the Barbadian society. This facility will be named Safe Haven and will commence operations from 1st January 2020. This facility will be situated in the sheltered and quiet area of Suriname, St. Joseph.
As a non-profit organization, costs will be absorbed by government grants, investors and fundraisers. When implemented, Safe Haven will accommodate 15-20 women and their children. Construction and renovations will be made on an existing infrastructure which will be donated by an invested organization. There will be 8 full-time staff members and a volunteer program will be offered to students at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus to assist at the facility.
The mitigation of violence against women in society is paramount to social sustainability and towards the development of the economy (García-Moreno et al. 1693). The implementation of this structured program can raise awareness and help prevent domestic violence in the Barbadian society.
- “About Hubbard House.” Hubbard House, https://www.hubbardhouse.org/. Accessed 26 Oct. 2018.
- “Abuse Defined.” The National Domestic Violence Hotline, par. 1. https://www.thehotline.org/. Accessed on 30 Nov. 2018.
- “Barriers to Leaving an Abusive Relationship.” The Center For Relationship Abuse Awareness, par. 1. http://stoprelationshipabuse.org/. Accessed on 30 Nov. 2018.
- Cummins, Kimberley. ”Bashed and Bloodied.” Daily Nation The Newspaper of Barbados, 10 Sept. 2018, p. 40.
- Daisley, Liesel. “Barbados Still Fighting Domestic Violence Scourge.” edited by Christina Smith. Loop News Barbados, 4 Sept. 2017, par. 3. http://www.loopnewsbarbados.com/. Accessed 24 Oct. 2018.
- García-Moreno, Claudia, et al. “Addressing Violence against Women: A Call to Action.” The Lancet, vol. 385, no. 9978, 2015, pp. 1685-1695. ProQuest, https://ezproxy.cavehill.uwi.edu/. Accessed 27 Oct. 2018.
- Griffith, Tyrone. “Daily Domestic Violence Reports Worrying Police.” edited by Christina Smith. Loop News Barbados, 24 Jul. 2018, par. 1. http://www.loopnewsbarbados.com/. Accessed 11 Nov. 2018.
- “Residential Program.” ACT (Abuse Counseling & Treatment, Inc.), par. 9. http://www.actabuse.com/. Accessed 26 Oct. 2018.
- “The Truth About Domestic Violence.” International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC), par. 1. http://bacweb.org/. Accessed 28 Nov. 2018.
- TMZ. “Rihanna Suffered Horrific Injuries After Alleged Assault by Chris Brown.” edited by Caroline Hedley. The Telegraph UK, 10 Feb. 2009, par. 1. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/. Accessed on 30 Nov. 2018.
- “Understand Domestic Violence.” White Ribbon Australia, par. 2. https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/. Accessed 15 Sept. 2018.
- “Women/Families–Staying@Home Program.” dvcs | Domestic Violence Crisis Service, par. 3. https://dvcs.org.au/. Accessed 27 Oct. 2018.