A Tobago based NGO is making a contribution towards ending violence against women and girls by placing outstanding permanent landmarks in communities across the country.
The group is called Women of Substance and the group’s founder and president Onika Mars says its time for their message to “resonate” throughout every community.
“What we want to do is bring domestic violence and abuse to the forefront of people’s minds we want to keep the conversation going we want people to know that domestic violence and abuse exists and we need to deal with it.”
She said the recent spate of murders against women and missing women and girls signals that the issue needs to be addressed constantly and not only when someone dies.
“I think it’s perfect now where we are in a season where a lot women have gone missing so the conversation is alive in people’s minds and on people’s lips because it’s unacceptable and it must be addressed.”
Mars, who is also a survivor of domestic violence, said her organisation is determined to change the way persons treat with the issue. And this will allow persons affected to speak out and seek help.
“We want persons to understand that in every community there is a survivor of domestic violence and abuse whether we like it or not, there exists at least one survivor because in every community there is a household who has been affected in some way or the other.”
Mars says the plan is to place these outstanding reminders in every community because the key to ending violence against women and girls is through community effort and that depends on everyone getting on board.
“We want a coordinated community response we want persons to know I could be part of the solution so instead of people asking where are the NGO’s where are the police and where are the government officials. We want persons to ask where am I, what can be my contributions towards the elimination of violence against women and girls so with the purple benches it’s permanent.”
The colour purple was chosen because it’s the colour associated with the domestic violence movement globally. And Mars said the intention is to flood the country with the “permanent reminders” that violence is unacceptable and help is available.
Thus far benches have been placed at John Dial, Lowlands and Crown Point.
Communities in Bethel, Bon Accord and Charlotteville will have benches in their respective areas next. And persons who wish to contribute to the initiative are invited to get in contact with Women of Substance on social media.
The “Purple Bench” initiative will also make its way to Trinidad as the group’s founder says they plan to go nationwide.
Residents in Trinidad can expect to see purple benches popping up in their communities from January 2021.