The V.I. Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council is outraged by the lack of local leadership and the deafening silence from the executive and legislative branches about the escalating number of domestic violence homicides in the territory.
"Confronting Apathy, Promoting Action" has to be the battle cry of all leaders throughout the community whether government, spiritual, business or civic organizations. This was the consensus at the DVSAC annual meeting April 7 at the University of the Virgin Islands.
The agenda was altered to accommodate the discussion about the escalating number of domestic violence homicides in the territory. These four women have been murdered since July: Aurelia Torres, Shirley Ann Phillips, Jaheen Williams and Sherett James (three within the past three months).
The lack of media visibility by our government officials has never been more striking. This lack of concern and alarm by our leaders is appalling. On several occasions, we have requested that the governor address and promote domestic violence and sexual assault awareness months in October and April.
Addressing these issues as well as other violent crimes will send the message that there should be zero tolerance of these crimes in the territory. An apathetic leader leads to an apathetic community that spends its time trying to rationalize that victims have done something wrong, rather than sending a message that no one has the right to take someone else's life.
There is no justification for domestic violence, sexual assault or any other violent crime. DVSAC demands that our public officials speak out on these critical issues and that a plan of action be shared with the community immediately.
Whether the incumbent government or future leaders – all of those in political office must come forward with real action to address these societal ills.
To contact DVSAC call 719-0144 or e-mail us at [email protected].
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