Oct. 9, 2004 October is Domestic Violence Month, a time to remember and honor its victims in candlelight marches, sharing of stories, and to bring a heightened awareness of what has been described by experts as the 7th-ranked cause of death among women.
The Family Resource Center on St. Thomas, the Women's Coalition of St. Croix and The Safety Zone on St. John have scheduled activities to commemorate, educate and mourn victims of domestic abuse, including "Take Back the Night" marches and vigils on Oct. 21 on the three islands.
The traditional purple lapel ribbons symbolizing the event may be picked up at any of the above facilities. Many events are scheduled on each island.
-Oct.16, The Clothesline Project
Tutu Park Mall, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
T-shirts will be hung on lines, allowing domestic violence victims to illustrate their feelings in pictures and words about what has happened to them. See the Domestic Violence Awareness Month Web site for background information on the project and the tradition of the purple ribbons.
-Oct. 21, "Take Back the Night" march and candlelight vigil
Government Hill to Emancipation Garden, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
About 300 people took part in last year's event, which was by no means a silent one. Participants moved to the music of two bands, 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." This year's bands have not yet been announced.
The march starts on Government Hill, then passes through the Senate grounds before arriving at Emancipation Garden. Participants are asked to bring their own candles.
-Oct. 15, Purple Ribbon night
Divi Carina Bay Casino, 8 p.m. to midnight
-Oct. 21, "Take Back the Night" silent march and rally with speakers and music
St. John's Anglican Church down King St. to the Scale House, 6-8 p.m.
Participant are asked to bring their own candles.
-Oct. 23, Women's Coalition Shelter "Wish List" project
Items for the shelter will be collected at Plaza East in Sion Farm, Kmart West in Sunshine Mall, Terry's in Sunny Isle Shopping Center and Schooner Bay Market Place.
-Oct. 21, A day in Cruz Bay Park with speakers, and educational materials available
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
-Oct. 21, A candlelight "Take Back the Night" march
Led by the Police Band, beginning at Cruz Bay Park and through town. Participants are asked to bring their own candles.
Nationally, domestic violence is the 7th-ranked cause of death among women, according to research presented by Jacquelyn Campbell, a speaker at the 8th International Conference on Family Violence, held in San Diego in Sept. 2003. And, she said, it is the leading cause of death among African-American women between the ages of 15 and 34.
Campbell, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, also cited survey findings that among women who died as a result of domestic violence nationwide:
-As many as 80 percent were killed by a former spouse or intimate partner.
-As many as 80 percent had previously been victims of battering.
-As many as 47 percent had previously been seen in the health-care system.
On the U.S. mainland, 4 million women are physically abused each year by the men who promised to love them, according to the Women's Coalition of St. Croix. In the V.I., thousands of women report domestic violence incidents each year. Over the years, 36 people in the territory have been murdered by their partners.
The Coalition urges all persons in the territory to join advocated in supporting the events this month. The Coalition can be reached at 773-9272, the Family Resource Center on St. Thomas at 776-3966, and the Safety Zone on St. John at 693-7233 or 775-7233.
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