The week saw the result of two women dying at the hands of men which again has showed up the weaknesses in the system that we are living in. A woman was beaten to death in broad daylight in Beaton, Saint David by her former lover who had attempted to kill her before and was incarcerated for about seven years. This incident begs the questions: On completing his short stint in jail, why was he allowed to continue to be her neighbour after even cutting off her hand? Did the usual accepted village rum-shop behaviour and taunting have anything to do with the man’s action? Is anyone looking into the effect of this on the children?
Then there is the second case which happened in 2018 but was concluded in court this week.
A young man is now awaiting his fate after he was found guilty of killing his girlfriend. He is set to be sentenced in December. Did anyone pay attention to evidence given by a bus driver that the man hired his bus for him and his girlfriend and at some point dragged the young girl by her legs out of the bus? Wasn’t that a sign that all is not well which should have caused the driver’s intervention? The young lady’s body was found after a few days and the evidence is that she died as a result of strangulation and asphyxiation? Can anyone imagine the helplessness she felt when he was manhandling her?
We must come to terms with the fact that the norms of yesterday when people cared for each other have changed and people are now experiencing a sinister feeling of aloneness especially in times of need. But are we prepared to do nothing to change the situation?
At least the incidents have angered one religious leader enough to prompt him to call for immediate action now to avoid this behaviour taking deeper root in our beloved country. Rev Vonnie James from the Grenada Baptist Association is calling for Thursdays In Black as a visible protest here.
The religious leader said that the incidents have made him furious and frustrated; but he also opined that we tend to be a reactive people.
In his writings sent to this newspaper he states that as a theologian, he is encouraging the faith communities in Grenada and the Caribbean to be part of the Thursdays In Black Campaign that the World Council of Churches (WCC) leads. He said the campaign grew out of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women (1988-1998), in which the stories of rape as a weapon of war, gender injustice, abuse, violence, and many tragedies that grow outward from such violence, became more visible. What also became visible was women’s resilience, agency, and personal efforts to resist such violations.
Globally, the movement propagated because, ‘The Mothers of the Disappeared’ in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Thursdays protested at the Plaza de Mayo, against the disappearance of their children during the violent dictatorship; the Women in Black in Israel and Palestine, who up to now protest war and violence; women in Rwanda and Bosnia were also protesting the use of rape as a weapon of war during the 1994 genocide; and further, the Black Sash movement in South Africa protesting apartheid and its use of violence against Black people.
In the Caribbean, graduates of the United Theological College of the West Indies have led the charge to encourage the Caribbean faith communities to become part of this movement. Particularly via social media, the Rev Kelli Jolly of the Methodist Church in the Bahamas, the Rev Marvia Lawes of the Jamaica Baptist Union, and the Rev Vonnie James of the Grenada Baptist Association together have been pushing the campaign since 2010.
We must agree that the faith communities have a significant role to play in reducing and eliminating rape and violence among its various contexts; but are they paying attention? We seem to be quite comfortable in our passive mode as we erroneously believe that such violent actions will never come home to us.
The Thursdays In Black Campaign will act as a reminder of such grave situations and is one of the Christians and faith responses to educate and help all to know that God’s call for justice is possible despite oppressive acts such as rape and sexual abuse, oppressive marital relationships, abusive congregations, controlling workspaces and so on and so forth.
We join the call for Faith communities and people in general in Grenada and the Caribbean to join the campaign #ThursdaysInBlack.Visit the link: https://www.oikoumene.org/en/get-involved/thursdays-in-black, download, print and distribute ‘Thursdays in Black’ resources at will. Join the campaign #ThursdaysInBlack.
This newspaper expresses thanks to Rev Vonnie James for bringing to our attention that there is the need for urgent action to save our ladies who are the mothers of the society.
We shall be paying attention to the different sermons by religious leaders this weekend!