Home News Local news Domestic Violence Victims Remembered During Solemn March, Rally

Domestic Violence Victims Remembered During Solemn March, Rally


Oct. 27, 2006 — Against the serene backdrop of the Frederiksted waterfront, more than 100 men, women and children silently marched Thursday in remembrance of V.I. victims of domestic violence.
The "Take Back the Night" march and rally — dedicated to 1985 domestic violence victim Petra Zorida "MiMi" Warren — began at the Fisherman's Pier and ended at the Eliza McBean clock tower.
"Today we lay down all acts of violence against ourselves and others," said Mary Mingus, co-director of the St. Croix Women's Coalition, as she recited a prayer for world peace. "We ask you to be peaceful," said Mingus from atop the clock tower steps.
"There is a war against women and it's not accidental," Mingus said. She went on to say the violence happens so "the people in power can maintain their power."
Mingus said the rapes and murders of women and children are "staples of the news," which do not shock us any more. She urged the crowd to remember the victims and refuse to comply with the men who perpetrate the violence.
A representative of the coalition slowly read aloud the names of domestic violence victims in the Virgin Islands. The list included 38 women, two men and two babies.
As each name was called, a relative or friend of the victim placed a pair of shoes on the steps of the clock tower beneath the speaker. As the list progressed, so did the variety of footwear lined up side by side on the curved steps — beach shoes, sneakers, satin shoes with glitter, high-heeled dancing shoes, sandals and infant booties — a sober reminder of the people who would never again fill them.
Mingus said the "In Your Shoes Project" is a stark reminder to the public of the lives lost due to domestic violence.
Holding lighted candles with purple ribbons pinned to their shirts, the crowd was attentive and solemn. Some shed silent tears. Many of those gathered were members of Warren's family. Mingus said that Warren died in the early days of the Women's Coalition and that they just recently got to know her family. Born on Jan. 10, 1953, Warren died from a gunshot wound inflicted by her boyfriend on July 17, 1985. She left behind two children, Hartselle and Zorida.
Warren's daughter, Zorida, spoke about her mother's life and the void her death left on the family. "They say time heals all wounds, but this pain is everlasting," she said. Zorida described her mother as a person with a "zest for life" and who loved to dance and sing. She introduced about 15 members of her family who were present, her voice breaking only when she presented the grandchildren her mother "never got a chance to meet."
Zorida praised the work of the Women's Coalition, as she read from a letter sent by her grandmother. "It was too much for her, she could not come tonight," she explained. The letter sent a serious warning to anyone who may be a victim of domestic violence: "Abusers do not change; they may get better for a while, but they go back to their behavior. Don't keep your abuse a secret."
Mingus urged women to "rock the boat" and speak out against domestic violence. "We are the troublemakers," she said, imploring all domestic violence victims to stand up and say no to abuse.
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