Oct. 11, 2007 — In observance of Domestic Violence Awareness month in October, two women from the territory who died from domestic violence will be honored.
Virginia Ramos and Jaheem Williams will be recognized during the "Take Back the Night March" and candlelight vigil Thursday, the main event scheduled for the month.
"Domestic violence is deadly. Domestic violence has taken the lives of too many women in the territory," said Mary Mingus, co-director of the Women's Coalition.
"With this vigil we shine the light on this issue," Mingus said. The silent march begins at 6 p.m. Oct. 18 in Christiansted at St. John's Anglican Church on King Street and proceeds to the Scale House. Anyone who wants to take a stand against domestic violence is encouraged to wear purple, bring a friend, a candle and a can of food to the rally. This is a silent march with a bell ringing every nine seconds, marking the death of abuse victims every nine seconds nationwide.
Since 1994, nine women in the Virgin Islands have died as the result of domestic abuse, according to the Women's Coalition of St. Croix.
The families of Ramos and Williams will be presented with commemorative plaques. There will be singing and poetry reading during the rally, and hero and "shero" awards will be given to community volunteers who have helped in numerous ways.
In case of rain the event will be held Oct. 25.
The Women's Coalition is sponsoring a shelter "Wish List Project" that will be held Saturday and Oct. 27. Volunteers will be at Plaza East in Sion Farm and Kmart West in Sunshine Mall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., collecting new items on a personal and household-shopping list.
A purple ribbon campaign sponsored by V.I. Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council is meant to raise awareness of abuse. Ribbons are available at more than 33 locations on St. Croix.
The coalition is holding a victim's advocate training program for volunteers beginning Oct. 23. The intensive six -week course meets 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and runs through Nov. 29.
Domestic violence is abuse that happens between members of the same family or persons involved in a close relationship: husband/wife; boyfriend/girlfriend; parent/child; same sex couple; adult child/elderly parent. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence: black, white, Asian, and Hispanic, rich, poor, old, young, men and women. But the majority of victims are women.
The Women's Coalition of St. Croix has been offering services to victims of rape, domestic violence, child sexual assault and other crimes since 1981. For more information about the Women's Coalition, call 773-9272.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.