They came all dressed in black to shed light on the evil of violence that continues to threaten their existence on a daily basis.
Women from all walks of life took time off on Wednesday night to assemble on the Brian Lara Promenade, Port-of-Spain, with candles in hand.
They all had one message, “We have had enough and enough is enough.”
Spokesperson for the group Enough is Enough Committee (EIE) Athaliah Samuel said the action was sparked by the recent murder of San Juan teenager Ashanti Riley and other violent attacks against women.
Results from an autopsy on Riley mere hours before the vigil revealed she was strangled, beaten and stabbed before her body was dumped in a river in La Canoa, Santa Cruz, last week. She had disappeared after entering a PH taxi near her home along Sunshine Avenue, San Juan. Her nude, decomposing body was found four days later.
“I can only imagine what she (Ashanti’s mother) has faced,” Samuel told Guardian Media.
She said while Ashanti’s killing was a catalyst for the vigil, they stood in solidarity with the families of all other women whose lives were snatched away from them in this country. She said Trinidad and Tobago is now a country where women are simply fearful for their lives.
“A lot of women don’t feel safe…A lot of women don’t want to travel anymore and they are thinking about all sorts of things that can happen to them.”
And with this newfound fear comes the resolve to create change. This is why the group wants to meet with those in the position of power to discuss a way forward.
“We no longer want to hear just about the problems, we want also to sit with persons in higher places to find solutions,” Samuel said.
She said in her group there are many women with ideas and they want to bring them to the appropriate table, adding the time has come for men to be held accountable for their actions.
Samuel said as depressing as it may be, in the meantime, women need to take necessary precautions to avoid becoming targets, including telling family members about their locations, walking in groups or avoiding lonely areas.
She also advocated for self-defence classes and phone applications with an SOS feature so they can call for help if in a dangerous situation.