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U.S. Embassy Supports Seminars to Empower Bahamians to Speak Out Against Domestic Violence

domestic-violence-womenA series of seminars themed “Inspiring Change by Raising Voices” will help familiarize 300 community leaders, including young people, with social crime prevention strategies to prevent gender-based and teen dating violence.

This series will take place between Monday and Tuesday, November 24 – 25, 2014 on Nassau and four Family Islands—Abaco, Exuma, Eleuthera and Grand Bahama—in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

These seminars are being launched with support from the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, The Crisis Center Bahamas, Ministry of Social Services and Community Development, and the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

This initiative is part of the broader Resistance and Prevention Program (RAPP), which aims to build mutual trust between the police, the government, and Bahamian youth. The event will promote the development of relationships, families, and communities in which the voices of women and children are heard, their rights respected, and their lives free of violence.

The RAPP effort falls under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI). Local partners include the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development, The Royal Bahamas Police Force, The Royal Bahamas Defense Force, The Bahamas Bar Association, the Ministry of Legal Affairs, The Ministry of Education’s Guidance Department, civil society organizations, the business sector and youth groups.

“We support wholeheartedly Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s philosophy that to combat violence against women and children requires a chorus of voices calling for an end to violence that includes our youth, the police, community and religious leaders, teachers, social workers, and agents of change on every level of society.

This chorus must also include lawmakers and people who play key roles in the transformation of young minds. As we begin the process of creating new villages, we continue to believe the dream of creating a violence free Bahamas,” said Dr. Novia Carter, PADF Local Coordinator and a psychologist with the Department of Education.

Dr. Carter added that one of the student-focused seminars called “Respectfully Me” promotes respect and nonviolent dating relationships among adolescents, and the creation of a community mindset that can help break the cycle of abuse.

“This environment fosters and supports healthy adolescent relationships which enables teen voices to be heard, their rights respected, and empowers them to hope that together we can create a village free of violence,” said Carter.

The Director of the U.S. Embassy Nassau’s INL Section, Kristin Gilmore, expressed her enthusiasm for “Inspiring Change by Raising Voices,” the first activities implemented within a larger engagement of “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” beginning November 25th.

According to Ms. Gilmore, the seminars “offer an opportunity to renew the global commitment to free women and girls from violence,” at a local level.  She added, “If violence occurs in our own neighborhood, or on distant shores, violence against women and girls damages us all—men and women alike.”

The “Inspiring Change by Raising Voices” seminars are free and open to the public.  To register, visit:

New Providence
Monday, November 24, 2014
Transfiguration Baptist Church Hall, Market Street

Grand Bahama
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Sir Charles Hayward Library, The Mall Drive, Freeport

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
St. John the Baptist Parish, Marsh Harbour

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
St. Andrew’s Anglican Parish Hall, George Town

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
St. Patrick’s Anglican Parish Hall, Governor’s Harbour

North Andros
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
North Andros High School, Nicholls Town


About PADF

PADF is the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integral socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people, to strengthen civil society and community groups in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2013, it helped more than 10 million people in 23 countries. Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Haiti, Colombia, Suriname and Honduras, and projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

About INL

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) advises the President, Secretary of State, other bureaus in the Department of State, and other departments and agencies within the U.S. Government on the development of policies and programs to combat international narcotics and crime.  INL programs seek to reduce the entry of illegal drugs into the United States; and to minimize the impact of international crime on the United States and its citizens.

About CBSI

The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) is a regional security partnership between the United States and the nations of the Caribbean to combat the drug trade and other transnational crimes that threaten regional security.  The United States, CARICOM member nations, and the Dominican Republic are improving citizen safety throughout the Caribbean by working together to: substantially reduce illicit trafficking, increase public safety and security, and promote social justice.

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