Thousands march against violence

| 19/10/2008

(CNS): Over 2000 people were estimated to have joined the Silent Witness March on Saturday, held on both Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, which was dedicated to Estella Scott-Roberts who was murdered on 10 October. As a tireless advocate against gender violence and abuse, literally thousands of people from the Cayman community came together to show their support for the same causes to remember her and pay tribute to her commitment and voice their opposition to violence.

The annual event was organized by the Business and Professional Women’s Club (BPWC), but this was the biggest ever showing on Grand Cayman and an emotional day for many. Starting from the Glass House on Elgin Avenue, the throng of people eventually settled outside the Legislative Assembly to hear tributes to Scott-Roberts and her work and the continued need to address violence in the community.

Women, men , girls boys, the elderly and babies rubbed shoulders as representatives from the Human Rights Committee, the Crisis Centre, The Women’s Resource Centre, the BPW Club and government expressed the need for the community to pull together to stop violence against women.

Len Layman who was one of the founding members of the Cayman Crisis Centre along side Scott-Roberts and the Chairperson of the Board of Directors pleaded for her work not to have been in vain and said every person in the community had a duty to help stop the violence in the islands. He said despite all that has been done, gender and domestic violence still takes place in Cayman and collectively we are not doing enough to stop it. He added that it was up to the Cayman community to come together and finish the work that Scott-Roberts had started.

Cindy Blekaitis in an emotional speech begged parents to talk to their children about healthy relationships and to positively promote equality as she said prevention was the key. She begged everyone to continue coming to the annual silent witness march every year to demonstrate that the community would no longer tolerate violence and abuse.

The Minister with responsibility for Gender Affairs, Anthony Eden, made an impassioned speech about Scott-Roberts’ work and the need to address the cultural issues that led to domestic and gender based violence and abuse. He also stated the government would be taking a close look at current policy and legislation to address an issue he said was everyone’s problem.

On Cayman Brac, the Silent Witness March was held for the first time and about 150 people walked from the District Administration Building to the Stake Bay Church and back. As well as honouring Estella in the speeches following the march, there were also tributes for past President and Secretary of the Brac branch of the BPWC, Claudette Upton-Keeley, who worked for many causes including the fight against domestic violence, and who also died unexpectedly last weekend.


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