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Fixing the Hole in the Bridge.


Benjamin Franklin once said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Today, this phrase still stands true. If we can prevent abuse in any form, before it occurs this will lessen the cost of fixing the problem after the act has been committed.

It will lessen the emotional, physical, psychological and financial cost to the individual, the family, the community, and the state. The aftercare maintenance cost of abuse is high, real high. With every new case of abuse the cost increases. It also increases many other social ills and issues which affect us as a people, and the financial burden to the state is overwhelming.

One has to remember that abuse is not an isolated social issue and it trickles down into every facet of society. Before we can implement prevention interventions and give prevention tips we need to understand what prevention includes and the levels of prevention.

The term “prevention” is reserved for those interventions that occur before the initial onset of violence. The field of public health has defined three levels of prevention: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Primary prevention aim to stop violence before it initially occurs. Secondary prevention focuses on immediate responses to violence. Tertiary prevention involves long-term approaches that occur in the aftermath of violence.

Three types of preventative interventions has also been defined, Universal preventive interventions are targeted to the general public or a whole population group that has not been identified on the basis of individual risk.

Selective preventive interventions are targeted to individuals or a subgroup of the population whose risk … is significantly higher than average.

Indicated preventive interventions are targeted to high-risk individuals who are identified as having minimal but detectable signs or symptoms … but who do not meet…diagnostic levels at the present time.

Prevention is achieved through the application of multiple strategies; it is an ongoing process that must relate to each emerging generation. Some may say “there is no surefire way to prevent violence be it sexual assault, molestation, domestic violence, murder etc” and while this statement may ring true, we cannot sit back and do nothing, prevention intervention strategies have shown a high success rate of violence reduction and prevention when implemented properly.

We must work with communities, groups and organizations to implement primary interventions strategies in this fight against violence, without primary intervention we will continue to count casualties and cost because we focus mainly on secondary and tertiary prevention interventions.

“Prevention requires a clear vision of what we’re working for, not only what we’re working against and a commitment to social change.” If we can prevent violence from touching the life of one person, one family and one community then all our efforts would not be in vain.

Using the river analogy, fixing the hole in the bridge will help not only those at greatest risk of falling in, but also everyone who crosses the river, rescuers, and those who pay for rescue costs. Our goal is to prevent pain and suffering associated with violence by stopping it before it initially occurs.

I would like to suggest the implementation of a ‘Prevention Support Unit [SUP]’ which primary aim is to establish programs, projects, and policies to deal with the prevention of violence. Breaking the Silence is not a popular choice, it is the right choice for friends do not let friends harm others.

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Towing the Lawful

Karl Kraus says “Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country” Over the past few years Trinidad and Tobago has been going down a slippery slope heading quickly but slowly into a bottomless pit of corruption, allegations, and broken promises to a people.

The government is boldly and confidently carrying the nation down into this abyss which they may not be able to deliver themselves from unless true reform takes place, true constitutional reform is in effect,and the people, yes the people begin to realize that the power of the country ends and begins with them.

Only when the people realize that the government is there to serve them and not themselves and in fact the government are their employees only then will change come and the country begin to rise. It is time that the young people of this nation stand for what is right, what is fair, equity, and equality it is time they stand and speak out against all small matters off corruption for if the small matters are left unchecked they will open a flood gate of destruction and demise.Charles de Montesquieu said “It is not the young people that degenerate; they are not spoiled till those of mature age are already sunk into corruption”

As a young person in this land I tell people everywhere that I am proud to be Trinbagonian and I will do what is right to help build this wonderful land of my birth even if I have to do it alone, however I must say that I am disappointed in my present government and past governments, disappointed in many of my ministers of government, disappointed in many persons who manage various government offices in this nation, and disappointed in many of my people.

Many of my people are afraid to stand for their right, they are afraid to speak out against corruption because they fear the repercussions, many of my people are become sheepish, submissive and have fallen into the trap of the dependency syndrome, many are living in such abject poverty that they fear losing a morsel of bread so they comply and accept anything.

Many in the upper and middle class have way too much too lose so they speak not against any injustice or corruption they also have become compliant, the poor man has is his life and he tries to preserve it through whatever means even if it means giving all his power away and becoming devoid of self. The rich man has too much wealth and power and he fears to lose both so he too keeps silent.

Today I speak about an injustice which has been taking place in this country, such injustice which is so subtle that it has been overlooked by many however those whom the injustice is perpetrated against are crying out and before this cry swells and cause an outburst which can cause harm I write this piece with the hope that those who are in charge can investigate the allegations and if those allegations are true they can put an end to this blatant open secret crime.

There is a rising concern and fear being expressed by many of the nation’s motorist, they believe that they are being targeted unfairly by the operators of various tow trucks who traverse the streets of the country. Many motorist believe their cars are being wrecked by these tow trucks operators even though they are legally parked based on their make and model as the owners will immediately pay the fee to get their cars back, bear in mind other vehicles are placed in this precise well organized ring so that it would not appear as alleged.

Many motorist have said that they have parked their vehicles legally and still get towed, mind you illegal parking is one thing and by all means such cars should be towed however there is no explanation for wrecking legally parked cars, I askare such persons to just pay the fine and quietly go away into the sunset?Many motorist have gone to such extreme measures of taking pictures of how they park on the streets because of fear, injustice, and intimidation.

Many motorist have been told by operators of these trucks and at times officers of the law the following “You aint see the white line is painted too close to the corner, you should know the law” “The lines are not visible and you should know the law” “We not seeing any white line” “You aint see the white line fade so you have parked illegally” “We do not recognize the white line” “We are the boss, we run the streets”

I call upon the minister of transport and the commissioner of police to seriously investigate these allegations as motorist will not continue to sit back and dish out five hundred dollars each time their car is towed when they have parked legally, soon they will begin to rise against this high class thievery, intimidation, and victimization.

It is your duty as minister of transport and the commissioner of police to keep abreast of all matters and yes we know that there are things which are taking place which is unknown to you both and this is where we the nationals come in we are the eyes and ears on the ground and it is our duty to make you aware of allegations of corrupt practices which is being perpetuated under your watch. I must also take this opportunity to commend those officers of the law who stand for justice and truly live up to their oath of office.

On behalf of motorist of this nation I appeal to your conscience to take a serious look into these allegations and if proven to be true then reform must take place, justice must be served however many fear that justice is not being served when many who have vowed to protect and serve have abandoned their position to subtly protect and serve the lawless while abusing the law abiding.

The power of change is in the hand of each citizen of this blessed nation you can make a positive difference and call for persons in authority to be responsible, accountable, transparent, and unbiased and to share with them your experiences on the ground. I suggest that the ministry put out a questionnaire in the daily papers calling on motorist to anonymously share their experiences and answer a few questions in regards to the matter of the tow truck operators, I am sure you will be surprised at the many responses.

I leave you with two of my favourite quotes which says “It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.” ― Aung San Suu Kyi

“To oppose corruption in government is the highest obligation of patriotism.” ― G. Edward Griffin

The Edge with Sherna Alexander Benjamin



Many if not all of us have grown up with the saying “Silence is Golden” we were told on many occasions “keeping your tongue will save your life” and what about this famous one “Even a fool when he holdeth his tongue is counted as a wise man” how could I forget this one “What you see here when you come here let it remain here” and finally “What goes on behind close doors remains there” but what trouble is this, the phrases now coming what about “Do not carry your business on the street” and “What goes on in the family stays in the family” and “All talk is not good to talk”.

As a survivor of child abuse I kept all those phrases, and silence was not golden for me, keeping my tongue did not save my life, I was classed as unwise for breaking my silence, I wished those who came to the home and saw unhappiness did not allow it to remain there, I wished I was empowered and educated enough back then to have spoken out about what was going on behind close doors, reflecting now I wished I had carried it on the street, I had no family, for what was going on in the family was brutalization and abuse. I was living in a house which was not a home.

Many of these phrases and more kept me bound for many years dying inside, being lonely and alone.

LIFE LESSON LEARNT: Silence is not always golden and there comes a time when you need to use your voice to speak out, if what is going on behind closed doors are violations of a persons human rights and abuse you need to speak out, using your voice will save your life for it will release you from the pain and torment of the person oppressing you.

When I used my voice some people did not like it, some were amazed, some supported, some believed me but there were those who believed not, there may be many who still do not believe, I say to them your disbelief does not make the facts unreal, my pain less burdensome, the memory less taunting, and my violation less painful.

Your disbelief and fake accusations will not make me keep SILENT as a parent and guardian you failed in your duty to protect me and because I am breaking my silence you feel ashamed, you want persons to look at you as the model parent/guardian so instead of you keeping silent which will be golden for you, you are using your voice against the victim.

Today, someone reading this post may be experiencing the pain of silence now is the time to speak, now is the time to remove the gag order and free yourself from the secrets which you have carried, free yourself so you can grow and experience life and living. Silence is not always golden there are times when silence kills, and it kills generations.

Victim Service Provider

While I continue with my course work in regards to “Victim Assistant Provider” I continue to be amazed and it teaches me that I have made so many errors but I have also made so many good decisions, my errors were shown to me in case scenarios, when I used emotions so many times to assist victims, emotions which should not be in the mix when it comes to being a victim assistant provider.
This course is showing me how emotions can be dangerous even though we have good or great intentions, I am learning to manage my emotions when it comes to a case or an individual and even victims.
Learning that emotions are good but we must learn to manage it and be unbiased in decision-making even if our emotions say something else. And emotions must be place to the side and follow the Ethical rules of being a victim assistant provider.
I am learning that when one gets too close to a victim it becomes harder and even dangerous to truly help that victim and be unbiased when a decision has to be made.
WOW Learning so much and grateful for this course in making me a better victim assistant provider.

Just finished this course area:
Ethics for Victim Service Providers: Ethical Standards II
Section III: Direct Services
Ethical Standard 3.6—The victim assistance provider avoids conflicts of interest and discloses any possible conflict to the program or person served, as well as to prospective programs or persons served.
Ethical Standard 3.7—The victim assistance provider terminates a professional relationship with a victim when the victim is not likely to benefit from continued services.
Ethical Standard 3.8—The victim assistance provider does not engage in personal relationships with persons served which exploit professional trust or which could impair the victim assistance provider’s objectivity and professional judgment.
Ethical Standard 3.9—The victim assistance provider does not discriminate against a victim or another staff member on the basis of race/ethnicity, language, sex/gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, social class, economic status, education, marital status, religious affiliation, residency, or HIV status.
Ethical Standard 3.10—The victim assistance provider furnishes opportunities for colleague victim assistance providers to seek appropriate services when traumatized by a criminal event or client interaction.

Today I begin another course area which deals with “Cultural Competency and Working with Diverse Populations: Cultural Competency and Victim Services”

Lies and Truths


Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:00pm EDT — Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:00pm EDT


How comfortable are people with lies, do we as individuals really want to hear the truth even when we are victims or perpetrators. Do we try to save ourselves by believing lies or would we truly be unbiased and accept the truth no matter how difficult it is to accept. History has shown us that the truth has caused many a war but lies bring a subtle comfort and deluded peace which continues to undermine many individuals, families, governments and nations. Would you prefer Lies or the Truth book your seat and contribute to the discussion.

Counting down the days.

We are anxiously counting down the days for commencement of our first show, we know that it will be a great discussion and wonderful debate we look forward to seeing and hearing from you. With 4 days to go we know that there will be many surprises, stay tuned.

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Even Victims need to hear the TRUTH.

It’s hard to accept the truth when the lies were exactly what you wanted to hear. As I sit in the school of life this is a hard and bitter lesson which I have learned and I know it will come again in the future.

Many times we lie to ourselves because we fear facing the truth, may times we lie to other’s because we fear if we speak the truth they will not see as we see, many times we lie to even victims of abuse because we fear pushing them away and hurting them the more, many times we lie to the world because of our silence.

I am a victim who have lied to myself for years about my emotional and mental state due to my abuse and physical torture and what had happened to me as a young person, I lied to myself about the extent of the damaged it caused me and how badly I was broken. I did not want to face the truth of my situation, while on my journey when others spoke even counsellors and doctors telling me the truth about my situation I became incensed and I immediately defended myself.

Even though I have grown and learned through counselling many things I did not want to learn or hear, however I had to hear them, learn them and accept them for my healing, however I seldom used what I learned when I had to counsel, when I had to deal with victims I immediately began shielding them and what I will call protecting them from further harm and brokenness, not realizing that I was destroying these victims the more because I feared to tell them the truth.

I often wondered why many doctors would not treat their own family members whom they loved dearly when a few years ago I asked my personal family doctor the question as to why many doctors do not treat their own wives or children but would refer them to a friend or another associate the response made sense to me his reply was. “Because many of us are too close to them and in trying to save our wives or children, mother or father, brother or sister, because of the high stem of emotions we will not think plainly and will off course damage or kill them, this is a sad reality but it is also the truth.” it was then I realized why psychologist and counsellors do not take their family and friends as patients.

Advocacy is an emotional thing but it is also a professional thing and it needs to be a balanced thing, speaking the truth knowing that the truth will heal the broken victim, victims have been told so many lies for years, that all they look forward to is the continuation of lies from all those who support then, should we as advocates continue to lie to them because of our emotions, I think this is further abuse to the victims, always remember, The truth is hard to accept but a lie hurts more than the truth.