Youths Elevating Youths in collaboration with Resin Art TT and Caricom youth ambassadors held a protest event on Wednesday to raise awareness against violence against women.
Aleah Holder, founder of Youths Elevating Youths, told Newsday the event was organised as a response to the various acts of violence against women in the last two months. The murder of 18-year-old Ashanti Riley, who was found dead on December 4, continues to spark outrage nationally. Riley left her San Juan home on November 29 and entered a taxi, but was never seen alive again.
Holder sought to honour those who lost their lives to violence.
Candles were lit in memory of the victims and various speakers called on the public to not remain silent and allow gender-based violence to flourish.
Speaking at the event was Caricom youth ambassador Keigon Denoon who said he was afraid for the safety of his female relatives.
Denoon urged men to protect and defend women, and not be the ones that cause harm.
“Take control of ourselves and ensure we speak up and do not allow the criminal elements to make our society uninhabitable,” he said.
Playing a pre-recorded speech before her address, Holder recalled the 2017 murder of 15-year-old Tobagonian Abiela Adams.
Holder wondered whether society and the government was doing enough, saying she was “sick and tired of saying, ‘rest in peace.'”
Appealing to men to be their sister’s keeper and their brother’s keeper, Holder added, “We shouldn’t live in a world where we are afraid to go out and have fun.”
She said women have to devise ways to protect themselves such as sharing their live location with friends and texting the registration numbers of vehicles they get into.
The Tobago Writers Guild recently expressed its condemnation at the killing of Riley.
It said in a press release, “To remain silent as a group in the face of such heartbreaking tragedy would be a tragic omission on our part so, consequently, we have to let our collective voices be heard in condemning such a gruesome act.
“All women and girls must be respected, loved and cherished regardless of race, creed, or social circumstances. To do anything less would be considered a societal injustice. We encourage other civil society organisations, groups, and places of worship to also issue public statements of condemnation and shame on the perpetrators of this and other acts of violence and abuse against women and children.”