KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Vincentian women have to accept the violence being perpetrated against them because of their silence on the issue, Audrey Gittens-Gilkes, vice-president of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) Women’s Arm said yesterday.
“… We have to accept it because we are silent. We speak only in our little corner because it didn’t happen to us,” Gittens-Gilkes said at the ULP Women’s Arms Convention.
At the time of Gittens-Gilkes’ remarks, police and citizens had converged in Welcome, where a badly decomposed body, believed to be that of 20-year-old Shanika Small was found.
However, Gittens-Gilkes did not refer to the case of the missing woman in her remarks.
Small has been missing since Oct. 21 but her mother was unable to say whether the decomposing body, which had its head severed, was that of her daughter.
A 13-year-old girl from Belmont is also said to be missing since September.
Gittens-Gilkes told the gathering of female ULP supporters that they should remember, “we are all sister.
“Therefore, we have to feel the pain of one another. And, if it was somebody’s pain last week, we do not know whose pain it is going to be next week and so we must stand together and speak up and speak out,” she said.
“We cannot at all times leave the defence of women to other persons, particularly the men who we love so much. They help but they do not understand the pain as we understand it,” she further stated.
Gittens-Gilkes said that men “cannot feel what a woman feels.
“They will sympathise, they will empathise but they cannot feel the way a woman will feel. And so, the manner in which we are able to make a difference will be different from the manner in which the opposite sex will be able to make a difference,” she explained.
“The manner in which we are able to influence will be difference from the manner in which they are able to influence and that is why we have this theme today, ‘Women: Leaders of Change,” she said.
“It means that we must take up the mantle and stop depending on others to make a path for us. Rather, we must decide, as women, the path in which we want to go; the path in which we want to take this great party,” Gittens-Gilkes further stated.
This country has recently witnessed an upsurge in violent crimes again females, including two women who was shot and killed in Campden Park in September.
Also in September, a 78-year-old widow of Fitz Hughes, was found murdered in her home. These killings came on the heel of the stabbing death of a Greiggs woman in August while a Georgetown woman survived an attack in which a man slashed her throat with a knife on the Grenadine island of Bequia.
Senior High Court Judge Frederick Bruce-Lyle last Monday, Oct. 24, added his voice to the public outcry regarding violence against women.
“No man has any right to lay his hands on his wife or his common-law-wife. I am sick of what is going on in this country,” Bruce-Lyle said, according to The Vincentian newspaper.