Peridot Foundation sheds light on domestic violence at annual event

Peridot Foundation sheds light on  domestic violence at annual event

Zoya Hyman (far left), CBA student singer and school drum band, board members of the Peridot Foundation, flank Tomaro Pilgrim (fourth from right).


PHILIPSBURG--The Peridot Foundation held its yearly event in commemoration of domestic violence awareness last Friday.

The evening commenced with prayer by Betty Chittick, followed by the rendition of the St. Maarten Song performed by Gracita Richards. The Charlotte Brookson Academy for the Performing Arts drum band wowed the audience with an uplifting musical performance.

In her address, psychologist Zoya Hyman minced no words when she took the lectern, looked calmly into the audience and presented. “St. Maarten is infested with violence and is traumatised to its roots,” she stated.

Drawing from her experience as a psychologist and her interactions with her clients, Hyman shared examples of offences perpetuated by sex offenders, many who continue to roam the streets freely.

She noted the inaction by or failures by institutions who ought to know and do better to support victims of violence in our small community are unacceptable. Hyman called for more and improved legislation and resources to combat domestic violence, noting that the community can not accept the reality of sex offenders walking without punishment due to social status. “This behaviour is simply unacceptable,” she stated. She further highlighted that the lack of accountability in dealing with this traumatic and life changing experiences for women and girls leaves an indelible mark not only for the victims of violence, but for our society as whole. “This is the ugly truth we face and must deal with openly and honestly if we are to heal individually as well as collectively as a nation.”

Guest speaker, Tomaro Pilgrim, a licensed therapist with experience in clinical social work, echoed the sentiments of Hyman. She stated that depending solely on the government to bring about much needed change is not the solution. “We know what is happening in our communities. We can’t sit on our hands or close our eyes to what we see. There’s a way to help women and children even in the smallest actions we take as individuals as well as non governmental institutions. Everyone has a role to play,” she added. Pilgrim pledged to share her knowledge and experience with Hyman and the wider community of St. Maarten.

Osrick Pilgrim, the husband of Tomaro, stated in his address, “Behind every strong woman is a supportive and caring husband.” He stressed that women are to be respected, honoured and supported. He said providing emotional support, guidance and skills are important to give women and their sons the chance they need to be wholesome citizens of their communities.

President of the foundation, Gracita Arrindell noted the United Nations theme for 2023 “Unite! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls!”

The event concluded with a rendition by Charlotte Brookson Academy for the Performing Arts student singer Allison Victorine, followed by the presentation of gifts to the attending audience.

The Peridot Foundation expressed its gratitude to all attendees and sponsors who made the event possible, including Pineapple Pete restaurant & Bar, Bobby’s Marina, Don Pizza restaurant, Candle Drip Co, Super Plaza, Ty Art & Gifts, and Ewaldo Arrindell of LosSanFernandos event centre.

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