Gender-based violence victims remembered at Memorial Park

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

THE names of scores of children and women killed over the past ten years, written on cards, covered part of the entrance to Memorial Park, Port of Spain on Friday morning.

They were put there before the start of We Remember march around the park in remembrance of those who have lost their lives in this way.

Members of the Caribbean Gender Alliance (CGA) laid the coloured cards, with the names written in black marker, in the grass just before noon.

Some of the victims included Sean Luke, Andrea Bharatt, Aaliyah Thomas, Ashanti Riley and Hope Arismandez.

Six-year-old Sean Luke was brutally murdered and dumped in an abandoned sugar cane field in 2006. In 2008, eight-year-old Hope Arismandez was found in a canefield a in Chaguanas.

In 2021, Bharatt,23, was kidnapped and killed. Her body was found at the Height of Aripo. Months before, Riley, 18, was found dead in Santa Cruz on December 4, 2020, after she disappeared on November 29. Thomas, 18, was found dismembered in Guapo in April 2020 after going missing.

The march was one of many activities planned for 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence from November 25-December 10.

CGA member Vonetta Adams said even after the death of hundreds of women and children, not enough has been done to protect this vulnerable group.

“It could never be enough. As I said, I’m an attorney at law, so every day I defend a woman who has been a victim of domestic abuse. So it’s not enough, but we have to keep trying. And that is why I am proud to be a part of this movement and march today.”

Police data show an average of 27 women and girls are killed in Trinidad and Tobago each year.

Asked if she is disappointed that the vigils and walks against domestic violence don’t seem to make an impact, Adams said, “I am very saddened. But it takes a single step, a single movement. The hope is that one day we’ll reach where we want to reach.”

“We want that number to be zero. It’s not just in TT, we are looking at the Caribbean in general, and in the world. Even in the developed world women are still victims of abuse. So we would like to bring that number down to zero.”

She added: “Men need to learn the constructive way of dealing with anger. That is something that we really don’t teach our boys and men. So very often they act out in frustration and anger and turn to violence.”

She felt this event was symbolic because it recognised the victims of violence and abuse.

“We hope to achieve increased awareness and sensitivity so that no other woman or child needs to die.

“ In my hand, I have the name Sariah (Williams). Sariah was a 15-month-old child who, on September 20, 2021, was chopped by her grandmother’s husband while in her grandmother’s arms. We all have placards with the name of a woman or child who lost their lives.”

She encouraged victims of abuse to be brave and seek help.

“Get help, because the alternative is unthinkable, and it can cost you your life if you don’t get help.

“You can get help from the church; you can get help from a family friend; you can get help from communities. There are government agencies that provide assistance.

“So get help. Call any attorney and say, ‘Listen,I’m a victim of abuse, point me in a direction.’”

With reporting by