Oct. 19, 2007 — "There is no excuse for abuse."
That was the theme at this year's "Take Back the Night" event Thursday night, remembering the victims of domestic violence.
A candlelight vigil was held for the more than 40 people who are thought to have died of domestic violence in the Virgin Islands. A march began at Emancipation Garden, around Government Hill, along Hospital Gade to the Legislature and back to Emancipation Garden.
The Eudora Kean High School Junior ROTC and the Charlotte Amalie High School marching band led the way, as enthusiastic supporters and members of local sorority chapters followed, chanting and cheering.
Children carried signs stating, "No more violence."
Master of ceremonies George Silcott quizzed the audience on their knowledge of domestic violence.
"What are types of domestic violence?" he asked. Silcott dared any young male to go on stage and answer the question.
But Michael Abraham, an 11th grader at the Charlotte Amalie High School, boldly went on stage and answered correctly.
"No hay excusa para la violencia domestica!" or "There is no excuse for domestic violence," shouted Migdalia Feliciano. Feliciano is a bilingual social worker at the nonprofit Family Resource Center.
April Newland, member of the center's board of directors, called the members of the audience "change makers," because of their interest in saving "the single most important issue in the world [our children]," she said.
"I was abused," Newland said. "I was ashamed. I was a victim. I sought comfort from people who never really cared."
Newland encouraged the members of the audience to help someone in need. "You know a neighbor that might be in trouble, bring them to the well of the Family Resource Center," she said.
According to data collected by the center, V.I. police receive 2,000 calls related to domestic violence every year. Family courts on all three islands collectively get 1,000 domestic violence complaints. Many cases are not reported.
For more information, contact the Family Resource Center at 340-776-3966.
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