LITTLE BAY – Organisers of the 2015 celebration of International Women’s Day focused on domestic violence presenting stark and gruesome reminders that there is much more work to be done on island.
About 50 women gathered at Soca Cabana for the event organised by activist and Speaker of the House Hon. Shirley Osbourne and author/activist Yvonne Weekes. Hosted by Radio Personality Rose Willock there were poems and music surrounding the issue of women making decisions to think well of themselves, to choose walking away from abuse over staying to be victims and a cry for them to support each other.
Businesswoman Juliana Meade shared her story of being abused in her marriage and the conscious choice she made to leave with a plan. She said there was no sisterhood to support her and no police support. Later she was able to work with local police officials to begin offering training to officers on how to deal with domestic violence cases.
The names of women killed by their partners through the years were read out loud with the women responding “Rise.”
Ms Osbourne read a declaration which she encouraged every woman to sign on to. Developed through her Royal Poinciana Foundation, the declaration calls for government to enact legislation to alleviate gender-based violence and implement systems to eradicate and support women who have been abused. The plan calls for the development of a fund to support women in crisis and a safe haven which they can receive shelter when forced to flee abusive relationships.
Some of the poets included Anjahnique Cassell and Zelma White.