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Battered men and women to benefit from new fund

Victims of abusive relationships are to benefit from a major initiative being launched on International Women’s’ Day, March 8.

The businesswoman behind the venture, Shelly Ross, told Barbados TODAY that the Battered Persons Fund, which is initially trying to raise $100,000, will cater to both women and men.

Ross, producer and editor of the Barbados Faces magazine and website, said the launch would involve a telethon lunch and concert at Divi Southwinds in St Lawrence, Christ Church.

Shelly Ross

Shelly Ross

“The fund is to look at women or men who are severely challenged. It is going to look at assisting men and women who are in relationships that have developed into such abuse, that they are either physically, emotionally or mentally challenged and they need help to get out of their relationships,” she said.

Ross stressed that with the assistance of the fund, many people would be able to break the cycle of abuse for themselves, their children and future generations of their family.

She added that the fund would also seek to assist in the maintenance of the island’s lone shelter and to provide counselling, food and clothing, education, child care services, transportation and medical care for people using the facility.

“And by so doing, [we will] give persons at the shelter the opportunity to create a new life of independence and self-sufficiency. The fund will depend heavily on volunteers, corporate and private donations, and a network of services and people working together,” said the producer and editor.

  She said the launch of the project was coming against the background of a “staggering” number of women who were physically abused by their current partners or former partners.

“And over the past 10 years, we have seen some gruesome murders and horrifying cases of domestic violence that have left several women severely handicapped. Many women try to leave abusive relationships, but the odds are often against them,” Ross noted.

In emphasizing the importance of the fund, Ross said that for some women, the fear of being tracked down by their abusers was also a concern.

As a result, these women remained in relationships in fear, pain and anguish because they saw no other option, she added.

Some of them, the businesswoman added, have no place to go and with just one shelter for battered women on the island, many would not find another place to call home very easily.

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