by Latoya Burnham
Domestic abuse not only causes harm to the person on the receiving end, but there is an economic cost as well.
Violence advocate, Jamonica Beckles, told a group of mostly women last night at the Garden Church of God in St. James that there was more than one way to sum up the damage done through domestic violence.
The Business and Professional Women’s group discussion held as part of the 16 Days of Activism, focused on Understanding Domestic Violence: A Local Perspective.
“In terms of costs, let’s look at the health care system. If a woman has been injured, what happens there? Medication that could have gone down the line to someone else has to go to her because of the injuries that she would have received,” she noted.
“In terms of the production line, if that woman produces five cans of drink per day, when she is not there then who produces that. So then the production line, there is a cost there and further along, the economy – instead of putting into NIS she is there to take out because of the illness, because of what she is going through; so there is a cost to it.”
Beckles went on to tell the audience, several of whom were members of the Church of God, that these costs, and the overall effects of domestic abuse could be helped with the involvement of institutions like the church.
“The church has a part to play. If there is a woman in the congregation that is going through domestic violence, moral support is so important. A woman who does not receive that support from you will drop out of that congregation,” she said, adding that couples looking to get married as well should go through counselling before tying the knot.
“As members of the church, you should know of the resources in your community in terms of where can I find a support group, where is the nearest shelter that women can go to, where can I find counselling for someone who is going through this type of abuse?”
Beckles told them as well, “Maintain confidentiality; that is big on the list. If a man or woman comes and confides that they are going through stuff, you need to maintain whatever that person says to you in the strictest confidence. You go out there and say, and by the end of the service the entire congregation knows she was beaten last night, that would be something else for that woman. You are traumatising that woman all over again by the stares she would receive or even by some persons who would be so bold as to pass and say stuff.”
She advised them as well that beyond just praying they had to get up and do something about the situation.