Good afternoon everyone and being that protocol has already been acknowledged, I will proceed with remarks.
This ceremony is a demonstration that is internationally recognised every year. There is always attendance, media attention and thought provoking speakers. I’m deeply honoured to have been asked to give remarks as a part of my role as the counsellor and educational facilitator at the Women’s Resource Centre. I wish to acknowledge the very personal loss that we are here to face.
My own very personal loss was that of Estella Scott Robert’s who is a very dear friend to me. Estella has always been a part of this march because she believed in this cause with all her heart and soul. The violence of her death was horrific and against everything she stood for. This is not just a loss of Estella the loved one….this is a loss of an advocate against domestic violence and a force of nature.
All of us are here today because we believe that a message needs to be sent.
That message in the words of Estella is to break the silence about violence. Very plain; very simple – violence is not to be quietly challenged, ignored or avoided. This cause is to be spoken out-loud, to anyone that will listen. Domestic violence is not a cause just for women, advocates, human rights activists or politicians. This is a cause for everyone. I challenge all of you…friend, family, co-worker, activist, frontline worker, political figure….no matter what reason brought you here this year, be here every year. Adopt this cause as your own. We are the voice to the silent witnesses, the women who have been murdered, the children that continue to live in fear and those men and women that are afraid to speak out at all. Ultimately we are now Estella’s voice. She would always speak out especially to violence against women and child sexual abuse.
Spread that message! Please get involved in any way you are able – join a mentoring program, attend events and support like you are today, be a listening ear, educate yourself about promoting equality in our community, talk to your children about healthy relationships, valuing ourselves and prepare them for the challenges ahead. Violence is a symptom of an even greater problem. Let us speak out against the issue of domestic violence, not just the loss we all feel right now.
Many of you may not be aware that the Silent Witness March has been promoting the end to domestic violence in Cayman since the year 2000. I believe we march in silence so that we know how it feels not to have a voice.
Please know that if Estella had a voice right now she would express gratitude for the turnout….and at the same time she would want accountability. She would challenge and demand your presence next year…and every year after that. I’m urging you to get involved,
If you are not sure how, contact the various agencies represented here today. We all have strengths to offer in combating this issue. Prevention is the key. If we all work together we can become that force of nature. Estella never stopped trying to make a difference…..and neither should we!