How do vigils help victims of domestic violence?

Dear Editor,

Stacy Singh, another Guyanese sister was brutally murdered. Again, as in the past, the outrage is loud especially on social media/Facebook.

What could have been more gruesome than when Rajwantie Baldeo was almost decapitated by her husband in the streets of New York City? It happened a little over a year ago. Yes, there was the loud and public noise, again on social media, but what else was done to address this situation of domestic violence in our community?

We see another sister/mother’s life gone. One group is having a vigil at a temple on Saturday. They wrote a moving lengthy piece and gave places and numbers to call in New York. None were theirs. All were public assistance or NGOs. None Guyanese.

My question to them is…Really? The vigil will happen and there will be a lot of talking and moaning and lamenting.  And all who attended will then go home feeling great that they aired themselves out and let themselves speak and be heard. And they cried and they hugged. Who hugged Rajwantie and who hugged Stacy? Who will hug those two kids that are without both parents now?

How will what they do at that vigil help any present day victim of domestic violence? If I call them and ask them for help, how do I know that I will be safe and that they will treat it as confidential? What assistance can they provide for me?

There are several other individuals who call themselves ‘community activists.’ They use the platform of domestic violence to have vigils and cultural programmes. These cultural programmes are really used to promote these individuals’ agenda of self-aggrandisement. Should one call any of these so called activists, what help will they give?

This is the crux of the problem in our community, whether in Guyana or in New York City and elsewhere.  It’s not about helping anyone, least of all the victims. It’s about self-promotion. No one really cares at all.

So in a few weeks, the noise will die down, only to rise up again when another victim falls, or when there is another attempt to milk domestic violence to host another cultural programme, to solicit funds or collect more citations and awards. In the meantime, those living silently, suffering quietly, cry blood and watch these performers. Yes, they truly care, right?

Yours faithfully,

(Name and address provided)

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