Attempting to keep harmony within Marshallese communities is paramount, so the norm is for members of the group to not speak out about domestic violence against themselves or other women because it would break ‘the harmony’.
For the folk at Weto in Mour, this is a huge contradiction, because how can harmony, a word that means agreement, peace and friendship, prevail in an atmosphere that includes violence.
Weto in Mour, above K&K Island Pride Supermaket, has just five staff members who are taking on the complex and daunting task of being a support service for women and girls facing domestic violence in Majuro and the outer islands.
“Every month we have two or three women coming to us,” program manager Candida Kaious said. Sadly, this is believed to be just a ‘drop in the bucket’ in the number of women who are being abused by their partners or people known to them. The Weto in Mour program began two years ago and was officially launched in September, 2016, so it’s still early days. Already there seems to be more women coming in to them for help as word gets around.
The other staff members are two caseworkers, who deal directly with clients, and two prevention workers, who are spreading information about halting domestic violence by talking to church and community leaders.
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