Saturday is International Women’s Day, and also marks 12 years since the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre began working to end domestic violence here.
To mark the occasion, the Crisis Centre and Cayman Krav Maga will host self-defense training for women only.
The Crisis Centre shelters women and children escaping violent partners and runs a local hotline so people facing abuse or who know someone in a violent home situation can get help or advice.
Saturday’s event has a dual purpose – to raise money for the center, which is asking for a $25 donation, and to help women learn how to fend off an attacker on the street or an abuser at home.
A big part of the center’s work is bringing attention to domestic violence in Cayman, said executive director Ania Milanowska-Sedgley, and to make sure people know that the Crisis Centre is available as a resource. She said the organization does regular outreach and presentations and has run a radio advertising campaign to get people talking about issues of domestic violence.
Crisis Centre board chairman Len Layman said, “The more people talk about it, the more people will pick up the phone” to get help to get out of an abusive relationship.
Ms. Milanowska-Sedgley said the outreach programs helped start conversations about domestic violence and have led to more women seeking shelter at the Crisis Centre. She said the number of women and children who have come to the shelter has increased from 53 in the 2011-2012 fiscal year to 77 in 2013-2014. Since July 2014, 73 women and children have stayed at the Crisis Centre, indicating that numbers are expected to far exceed the number from last year.
The Crisis Centre can accommodate up to 20 women and children at a time, and they can stay for up to two months while they figure out the next step.
Calls to the 24-hour Crisis Line have also increased dramatically, from less than 160 in the 2011-2012 fiscal year to almost 300 in the last year. The Crisis Line is staffed around the clock; the number is 943-2422.
Cayman Krav Maga, which teaches a form of defensive fighting developed by the Israeli military, is hosting David Khan for the training. He is a U.S.-based instructor who has worked around the world training local groups, law enforcement and members of the military.
The self-defense seminar and fundraiser will be from noon to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Krav Maga Cayman, second floor, Fidelity Financial Centre, West Bay Road.