CNMI United Against Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Awareness Month highlighted at Day of Unity

By Bryan Manabat

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Nov. 4, 2016) – Day of Unity, the signature event for the annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month, was held on Saturday at the Civic Center in Susupe.

There were three activities throughout the day: family and games, the men’s walk, and the candle-light vigil.

According to Maisie Tenorio, Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence executive director, Day of Unity was a way to show the community’s united stand against domestic violence.

“We have to be united as a community in order to end domestic violence,” she added.

The first part of the event was about family, entertainment and games.

As for the men’s walk, it allowed men in the community to stand in solidarity with women. “Most domestic violence victims are women,” Tenorio said. “So it sends a powerful message when the men in the community band together and say they don’t tolerate domestic violence.”

The candle-light vigil, which followed the men’s walk, “is our way of remembering those we have lost to domestic violence,” said Tenorio. “We take a moment to pray for and to honor their memories. We invited all of the families to come and light candles for their loved ones. We also invited members of the community to light candles. It is all about unity and connecting and sharing our experience with others, hopefully showing survivors and those living in violence and abuse that there is light and we are here to shed light on the darkness of domestic violence.”

Tenorio said “many victims suffer in silence and they feel all alone — they feel that they are surrounded by darkness. We hope the candle-light vigil will light their way to safety and healthy relationships.”

The candle-light vigil honored the memories of Francesca B. Camacho, Erlinse C. Santos, Rosalia T. Teigita, Leonora Miranda, Vicky Ann M. Igitol, Joanna Vitug and Ana Maria Limes — women who have lost their lives due to domestic violence.

Tenorio said there are those still living in situations of violence and abuse, “but hopefully, they’ll know that all these people support them — that we care, there’s help available, and they don’t have to go through it alone. They don’t have to carry their burden all by themselves. All of us that are here are ready to help.”

Ending domestic violence is a community effort, she added.

“We cannot do this alone. There are so many people out there in our community — our loved ones that are living with violence and abuse, and that is not okay, that is not what we are about here in the CNMI.

“We are about love, respect and a safe and healthy relationship. And we want everyone to be part of the movement.”

She reiterated that “when survivors know that there are people out there for them, they are more likely to reach out.”

If you know someone who is living with abuse, reach out, she said.

“Be patient and be non-judgmental because survivors really need a lot of patience and support. If you are living with abuse right now please call 234-5100.”

Marianas Variety
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