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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, August 18, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesDomestic Violence Victims Honored During Somber Ceremony

Domestic Violence Victims Honored During Somber Ceremony

March participants look at the Women's Coalition clothesline.Frederiksted might have a reputation for having some of the territory’s most raucous parades. However, Thursday’s Take Back the Night march was nothing like that.
Voices were in whispers, the only loud sound was that of the police escort, as 150 marchers moved ahead slowly, block by block along Strand Street from the Fish Market to the Clock Tower.
The faces were somber, most cast in the shadows of the candles they were carrying. A watcher could easily imagine that most of these faces had a story to tell that brought them to this march dedicated to help ending domestic violence in the V.I. community.
But a “story to tell” might be the wrong words to describe them. Many simply had a hole in their heart where thoughts of a missed loved one were held.
In the ceremony held at the Clock Tower, just after all signs of the sun had disappeared in the ocean to the west, the poems and the songs tried to describe that hole. A song by Sjhona Petersen was especially plaintive, causing those to shake their heads after she was done and say, “That was beautiful.”
Clema Lewis, in her opening remarks, prayed that all Virgin Islanders would remember the “preciousness of life.”
She added, “This is just not a night to remember those who died because of domestic violence, but to honor those who have survived.”
The march was dedicated to the memory of Nefertiti Ain O’Bryan. The only light moment of the ceremony came where her young daughter took the microphone and said, “This is too sad. We can smile. See I am smiling.”
For over a quarter of a century now the St. Croix Women’s Coalition has held this annual candlelight vigil and march, remembering and showing solidarity with the victims of domestic violence.
As every year, the Women’s Coalition had its "clothesline" on display between the Clock Tower and the gazebo in Buddhoe Park. In this display, survivors and victims of domestic violence and abuse have written, drawn, painted, embroidered or put whatever they like onto a T-shirt to express their feelings.
Also as part of the tradition hero and "shero" honorees were recognized. This year those honored were: –Claudia D.J. Charles, the office manger at St. Croix Mutual homes, who has been proactive in the fight against domestic violence. She helps find housing for clients so they don’t have be on a long waiting list.
–Annamaria Heyliger, the property manager at Lorraine Village Apartments, was also honored. Heyliger goes above and beyond by giving the Coalition a heads-up on open long-term apartments.
One hero was retired Capt. Melbourne Adams, a 39-year VIPD veteran. He has been involved in the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council since its inception. According to the program, he understands issues and brought about domestic violence training. He is also on the coalition’s board and actively volunteers in the coalition’s annual Tennis Classic.
Another hero was Albert Roumo. He is also known as the “Governor” because he is always dressed in a suit and tie. The program said, “He is an extraordinary and exceptional person” who is actively involved in the whole community working diligently for local causes.

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March participants look at the Women's Coalition clothesline.Frederiksted might have a reputation for having some of the territory's most raucous parades. However, Thursday's Take Back the Night march was nothing like that.
Voices were in whispers, the only loud sound was that of the police escort, as 150 marchers moved ahead slowly, block by block along Strand Street from the Fish Market to the Clock Tower.
The faces were somber, most cast in the shadows of the candles they were carrying. A watcher could easily imagine that most of these faces had a story to tell that brought them to this march dedicated to help ending domestic violence in the V.I. community.
But a “story to tell” might be the wrong words to describe them. Many simply had a hole in their heart where thoughts of a missed loved one were held.
In the ceremony held at the Clock Tower, just after all signs of the sun had disappeared in the ocean to the west, the poems and the songs tried to describe that hole. A song by Sjhona Petersen was especially plaintive, causing those to shake their heads after she was done and say, “That was beautiful.”
Clema Lewis, in her opening remarks, prayed that all Virgin Islanders would remember the “preciousness of life.”
She added, “This is just not a night to remember those who died because of domestic violence, but to honor those who have survived.”
The march was dedicated to the memory of Nefertiti Ain O'Bryan. The only light moment of the ceremony came where her young daughter took the microphone and said, “This is too sad. We can smile. See I am smiling.”
For over a quarter of a century now the St. Croix Women's Coalition has held this annual candlelight vigil and march, remembering and showing solidarity with the victims of domestic violence.
As every year, the Women's Coalition had its "clothesline" on display between the Clock Tower and the gazebo in Buddhoe Park. In this display, survivors and victims of domestic violence and abuse have written, drawn, painted, embroidered or put whatever they like onto a T-shirt to express their feelings.
Also as part of the tradition hero and "shero" honorees were recognized. This year those honored were: --Claudia D.J. Charles, the office manger at St. Croix Mutual homes, who has been proactive in the fight against domestic violence. She helps find housing for clients so they don't have be on a long waiting list.
--Annamaria Heyliger, the property manager at Lorraine Village Apartments, was also honored. Heyliger goes above and beyond by giving the Coalition a heads-up on open long-term apartments.
One hero was retired Capt. Melbourne Adams, a 39-year VIPD veteran. He has been involved in the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council since its inception. According to the program, he understands issues and brought about domestic violence training. He is also on the coalition's board and actively volunteers in the coalition's annual Tennis Classic.
Another hero was Albert Roumo. He is also known as the “Governor” because he is always dressed in a suit and tie. The program said, “He is an extraordinary and exceptional person” who is actively involved in the whole community working diligently for local causes.