"Violence in any form undermines the fundamental human rights of individuals, and it continues to plague many families, communities and nations causing colossal mental, physical and economic damages at the micro, mezzo and macro levels. When the human rights of one is violated, the human rights of all are in jeopardy.” - Sherna Alexander Benjamin
O.A.B.I.: Organization for Abused and Battered Individuals was founded in 2008 by Sherna Alexander Benjamin, in 2010 Dr. Mary Jo Odom partnered with Alexander Benjamin after developing a working relationship in 2009. They both held a similar vision for change. Envisioning a world where peaceful co-existence is possible. And a socially, economically and politically just world where Gender-based violence, violence against women and girls, system patriarchy, racism, prejudice, discrimination and oppression are things of the past.
O.A.B.I was officially launched in May of 2011. Sherna Alexander Benjamin and Dr Mary Jo Odom stand as thriving survivors of various types of abuse, role models, humanitarian workers, pioneers and innovators using their voices, pens, narratives and unique abilities to lead, network and collaborate for change. Ultimately tapping into their spiritual sources and strengths which keeps them moving from #PainToGlory.
The organisation was founded to enhance the lives of persons who experience gender-based violence while working to prevent, reduce and combat vicious acts and cycles of violence and discrimination (which is perpetrated against women and girls and men and boys, families and communities) and its connection to poverty, crime, mental health and wellness, illiteracy and the disempowerment of and destabilization of communities as violence in any form has domino effects.
On the 14th February 2016, the organisation launched The VASCO Center (Victim Advocacy Service Center and Office), to provide tailored psychosocial services, legal and advocacy support to individuals, families, schools, communities, the public and private sectors working towards developing strategic partnerships at the local, national, regional and international levels.
The organization exists to also address the needs of vulnerable women and girls within Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and Latin America, working towards eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls, developing positive counter-norms to eradicate harmful traditional cultural and social norms about how women and girls are viewed and treated, the empowerment and education of women and girls, dispelling myths regarding offenders and victims, conduct social research (action and evidence-based), advocate for public policy and legislation for the Advancement of Gender and Social Justice, Equality, the promotion and protection of Human Rights and the realisation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
As an organisation, we work with members of the public, victims, public and private stakeholders, legislators, law enforcement officers, fellow members of civil society, international agencies. We encourage and support youth development and find ways to enhance the lives of adult victims of childhood abuse. We believe that the development of innovative business models and academic scholarships can assist victims in becoming self-sustainable incorporating the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
O.A.B.I firmly believes in: Training, Awareness and Education; Public Policy; Prevention intervention strategies; Victim Security and Personal Safety; Poverty Alleviation; Spiritual Enlightenment; Open conversations about abuse and mental health; Victim Advocacy; Social and Human Development and; Batterers rehabilitative intervention.
O.A.B.I focuses on aggression in men and boys, is presently lobbying for the implementation of a court-mandated Batterers Intervention Program (BIP). We developed a Batter’s Intervention Program called BAVINO (Because Abuse and Violence Is Never an Option). This program was successfully utilized for a legal matter in a New York court.