October 1, 2019 marked the start of a month long celebration and continued advocacy for the FSN on the occasion of their 30th anniversary.
The observances began with a “Walk of Remembrance” with mainly school children from the Festival Grounds in Road Town to the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park where persons participated in the releasing of biodegradable balloons in memory of the many persons who died as a result of domestic violence in the Virgin Islands (VI).
A member of the family of Regina Powell, who was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend on St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (USVI) in 2018, appealed to those gathered to report the act of domestic violence promptly.
“If you are seeing it report it, if you are going through it report it, there is nothing to be ashamed of, it's not your fault that someone is coward enough to abuse you. So please, do not take it by yourself.”
The relative of the late Powell emphasised that age doesn’t matter and that by reporting domestic violence a life can be saved.
The family could not hold back tears as they recalled the day they received the news their loved one had been murdered, a victim of domestic violence.
Also present at the 'Walk of Remembrance' was a close friend of St Vincent national Lennox F. Da Silva aka ‘Ocho’, who knifed his Jamaican wife, Sherika Nelson- Da Silva, to death at their apartment in Greenland, Tortola, on June 10, 2017 and was on July 12, 2019 sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison.
“He (Ocho) was a close friend of mine. I will still talk with him because he needs help but he knows that I am one hundred percent against him for what he did.”
The woman, who chose not to be named, said she made it a priority to take her children to the 'Walk of Remembrance', “Because they are still hurting. Sherika’s children were close with my kids and these people who are out there abusing others, men and women I am talking about, fail to understand the ripple effect of their actions.”
Another victim of domestic violence was loud in praise of FSN, as according to her, had it not been for the help of FSN and some key government agency she and her children might not have been alive today.
“I am fortunate because my neighbour came to my aid. The almost daily beating of me and my daughters became a norm. It was as if we didn’t know it as abuse anymore. But that night the beating moved from fist to weapon [and] I thank God for my neighbours,” the woman said as she broke into tears and walked away.
Her friend said, before running off to console her, “We want more Magistrate Ayana DaBreo. We need the police to do more, we need them big ones in government and big offices and companies to stop abusing women and hiding it because they got money.”
FSN’s 30th anniversary celebrations will continue throughout October, including with a ‘Paint a finger purple’ and a dinner award ceremony later in the month.