Rose R. Kaipat went from being a victim of domestic violence to being president of a community advocate for victims and earning an associate degree in criminal justice at the Northern Marianas College along the way, giving a human face to a social problem that she hopes many will recover from.
“Not too long ago, I was subjected to domestic violence by the person I loved,” Kaipat said in her personal story, read by Debra Inos during yesterday's signing of a proclamation declaring October 2012 “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”
Driven by her love for her children and to protect them from future violence, Kaipat said she tapped the available resources in the CNMI. These include filing a temporary restraining order through the Domestic Violence Intervention Center (664-4584), Karidat Social Services (234-5248), Guma Esperansa Transitional Housing Project (GETHOPE), Division of Youth Services' Parent Education Program (664-2555), the Superior Court, the Department of Public Safety (911), Victim Hotline (234-1500), and Parents Anonymous, among other agencies.
“So today, I share with you all that the CNMI criminal justice system, although a long process, did not fail me and my children,” said Kaipat, now president of Parents Anonymous, a community advocate for victims.
She said there is “hope” for those who find themselves homeless as a result of domestic violence.
“Trust me, the system is just and there is light at the end of every tunnel, that's my guarantee. So in this very moment, I invite you all to take a stand against all forms of domestic violence,” she said.
In signing the proclamation on Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos called on all citizens and communities to observe this month “and take part in the efforts to end domestic violence and strive for a safer community.”
House floor leader George Camacho (Ind-Saipan) and Rep. Edmund Villagomez (Cov-Saipan) also joined Inos and advocates to promote this year's theme, “Choose Peace, Not Violence.”
In 2011, the Office of the Attorney General received 162 cases of domestic violence. Advocates said yesterday that this number does not reflect the actual number of victims living with domestic violence every day in the CNMI.
The monthlong observance will include three Walk Against Violence events on Oct. 3, 17 and 24; Day of Unity on Oct. 8; Day of Prayer on Oct. 14; village conversations; information booths at the Thursday Night Market; and Trunk O Treat at Joeten Kiyu Public Library.
5 other proclamations
The lieutenant governor, who turned 63 yesterday, signed five other proclamations.
These include CNMI Humanities Month in October; National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October; CNMI Energy Action Month in October; Energy Star: Change a Light Day on Oct. 2; and Weatherization Day on Oct. 30.