As the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Grand Cayman gets set to mark its 19th Silent Witness March, it is urging everyone to get involved in ridding the Cayman Islands of domestic violence.
“BPW is encouraged that reporting in Cayman has quadrupled in the past 5 years but so much work still must be done,” said Cheryl Myles, BPW Silent Witness March chair, in a statement Tuesday announcing the upcoming march.
Date of Silent
The march is set for Friday, 18 Oct. This year’s theme is ‘Remember My Story, Remember My Name’.
Myles said, in the statement, that the theme encourages a move away from the stigma often associated with the topic and towards open and honest discussions about domestic violence and its victims, whether women, children or men.
The march was established in 2000 “as a small tribute to those who have lost their lives due to, or have been impacted by, domestic violence”.
BPW pointed out that one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. “Historically under-reported, domestic violence victims have often suffered in silence, something which in many cases has had fatal consequences,” the statement added.
The silent march will start at 3:30pm at the Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue, go past the George Town Police Station, and end near the courthouse.
“[It] represents some of the key stakeholders that play a powerful role in ensuring that domestic violence is prevented, and that justice is brought to victims,” organiser Mahreen Nabi, of BPW Cayman, said in the statement. “However, it is important to remember that everyone in our island family has a key role to play. Joining us at the march is a great first step, but we’re really looking to every single person to become an ally.”
She said becoming an ally could be “through supporting groups like the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre and Family Resource Centre, speaking up and reporting incidents as a victim or witness, or simply encouraging open discussions on the topic. Every bit works towards ending violence in our homes, families and communities.”
This year, BPW Cayman has teamed up with its sister association in Dominica and they will be holding a march at the same time as Cayman.
BPW Dominica president Rhoda St. John said her organisation strongly stands for the protection of women whether it’s violence perpetrated by males or females.
“It’s time to stand up and speak out,” St. John said. “Too many of our women are being verbally abused by men and women and nothing is done. The law needs to change and protect our women; no one should be allowed to slander, harass, dirty, low-rate a woman and just think it fine to do so. This march is a call on magistrates, lawyers, [prosecutors], police to take these matters seriously.”