Andrea Bharatt

Members and supporters of The Movement dressed in black to protest gender-based violence (GBV) at the Queen’s Park Sa­van­nah, Port-of-Spain, opposite TGI Fridays, yesterday.

They chanted ‘we want justice’, carried placards and displayed montages of photos of Andrea Bharatt, Ashanti Riley, Shannon Banfield and other women and girls who were murdered.

Speaking to Sunday Guardian Kay-lee Francis, the group’s founder said “Our event is to raise awareness to what’s happening in our country; gender-based violence. We’re speaking up, we also have victims who’re here that have survived attacks in certain cases.

“They will be sharing their vision, how they feel, how their experiences have impacted them and their families. Our main goal is not to bring fear, not to criticise anybody, but to lift up each other, to bring unity and stand together to bring a change to our justice system.

“Our main objective is that we want a change to the sex offenders registry and to have it updated. The Government was underestimating women, not knowing that we had educated ourselves, lawyers were working with us and helping with cases that girls brought.”

She said a permit was needed for pepper spray which should be made more readily available. What would have happened to the woman if she didn’t have a weapon with her when she was attacked by a taxi driver (in Aripo)?

Jen-ai Mohammed, the group’s coordinator said the group will be addressing several solutions to violence against women, but doing it in baby steps to achieve justice the legal way.

She said a lot of the problems stemmed from home, also, since 1813 when the first set of slaves were registered in Trinidad, GBV had been occurring since then.

Mohammed said Bharatt’s heinous murder was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Too many of T&T’s women’s deaths have been in vain and they wanted survivors to have justice.

Gabriella Arjoon said the reformation of youths was also part of the solution and changes to the education system to include young women, girls and also young men can alleviate some of the problems.