Oct. 23, 2003 – About 300 people took part in the annual Take Back the Night march against domestic violence and in a ceremony of remembrance of its victims Thursday evening on St. Thomas.
Similar marches and commemorations also were held Thursday evening on St. Croix, sponsored by the Women's Coalition of St. Croix, and on St. John, sponsored by The Safety Zone.
"I feel this was a good show of support," said Michal Rhymer-Charles, executive director of Family Resource Center, which has sponsored the observance on St. Thomas for the last nine years.
The march was by no means a silent one. Participants moved to the music of two bands, the Charlotte Amalie Chickenhawks and the Seventh-day Adventist Pathfinders, while shouting, "Taking back the night, shining the light on domestic violence" and "You do the crime, do the time; abuse a child, spend time in jail."
Leaving from Emancipation Garden, the marchers passed by the seats of all three branches of government. They went first by Post Office Square and up Government Hill, then descended and proceeded to Territorial Court in the Alexander Farrelly Justice Center, and then continued to the Legislature Building before returning to Emancipation Garden for the memorial observance.
Chanel Ruan, a University of the Virgin Islands student, said she joined in to remember victims of abuse and to let people know domestic violence is a serious problem — and a crime.
Jamelia Potter, a CAHS student, said she has been wearing a purple ribbon all week in remembrance of the victims of domestic violence.
During the candlelight vigil, the names of those who have lost their lives to domestic violence in the territory were read. Then participants joined hands and sang "Reach out and touch somebody, make this a better world, yes we can." Mary Ann Weston, Family Resource Center child/youth worker, said she believes the song and the holding of hands gives people a sense of community support.
Weston believes the annual Take Back the Night event, which is part of a national observance, is important because it "makes the community aware of what is going on." At this one time of the year, especially, information is given out to the community and there is collaboration among agencies, she said.
Megan Liversay, another CAHS student, said she has participated in the Take Back the Night march for three years. "I think domestic violence is wrong and should be stopped," she said.
"You can do something," Rhymer-Charles told the gathering. "It is everybody's business."
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