My team and I were given the task of working with Cedars Home (shelter for battered women and their children) to determine any resource and training needs it may have by conducting interviews with various stakeholders. What emerged from the task was the opportunity to have conversations about domestic violence with Grenadians and to hear stories from domestic violence survivors. Below are some of the highlights from the different conversations I had.
The first conversations occurred at Saint George’s Market Square where I had the opportunity to talk to locals and vendors. Many of the individuals I talked to believed domestic violence was a prevalent issue in Grenada and cited the large media attention domestic violence has received. Particularly, there has been ads circulating on TV with a domestic violence hotline number. Additionally, many individuals brought up a recent domestic violence case that resulted in tragic deaths. When I asked about Cedars Home specifically, hardly anyone knew of the name or location, but they knew a place existed and felt that Grenada should have a safe space for victims of domestic violence where they can take control of their lives for the better.
My next conversations took place with the stakeholders of Cedars Home, but I am only going to highlight the residents because there is something very powerful and inspiring about their experiences that I will never forget. Although I cannot share the actual stories, one of the most important takeaways from my conversations with the residents was this feeling of hope in the midst of despair. I truly admire the residents of Cedars Home because regardless of what has happened to them in the past, these women see themselves leaving Cedars Home more independent, self-sufficient, and empowered than when they had arrived. On that note, I will end the post with a poem by one of the residents which sums up the thread of thoughts and themes many of the residents have experienced.
A Message from a Victim of Domestic Violence
By Denise Alexander
I am a victim of domestic violence,
to you I bring this message
without any pretence.
Although my words may seem meaningless to you,
somehow it can make your day feel new,
Come on women!
For too long you have been in this situation.
Eradicate all negative thoughts
and make a decision.
Domestic violence is the system which we must fight.
Although it may be rough
and we may feel weak,
we have to be strong.
Let us rise up now and take our stand.
Remember our children,
they are the future generation.
is where we came from.
And remaining victims to this vicious system
won’t make us women.
Opportunities we have lost,
let us try to regain
and make out lives better again.
For a masterpiece of God’s creation,
that’s who we are.
So by enduring and persevering we will reach far.
Emulating us will not be in vain,
for we have struggled.
Therefore, we must hold the reign.