Social media personality Asberth Williams is seeking to make a dent in the incidence of violence against women and children.
Williams is the winner in the Best Social Media Personality award in 2017 Best of SVG awards.
He is taking the fight to the various communities in a campaign aimed at highlighting the various issues affecting women and children in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
In an interview yesterday, Williams said while he has always felt strongly about the ills committed against women and children, two stories touched him deeply in 2017 and caused him to act.
The first was the death of Monique Clarke, a mother of two from Biabou, who was doused with gasoline and set on fire on August 13. She died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) about a week later. The second incident took place at Rillan Hill on Friday, September 29, when a six-year-old child was taken from her home and transported to another part of the community, where she was raped and left to walk back to her home.
Williams said he decided to use his popularity to not only speak out against these forms of abuse, but to take his war against the problem to the streets.
Beginning on Saturday, September 16, at Stubbs, Williams and a group of persons held a public consultation on the issue.
Consultations have also been held in Greiggs, Mesopotamia, Owia, South Rivers and at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC).
More meetings are planned for Park Hill (Saturday, November 27), the Girlsâ High School (GHS) on December 8 and other communities on the mainland and in the Grenadines.
Williams said that so far, the response has been good, with several persons coming forward to tell their stories.
âIf I could at least save one person a week from being abused and I can get two or three of these worthless men arrested, then I can say that the objective has been achieved.â
He said that so far, two persons have been arrested and that is comforting.
âAbuse of women and children in our society is a major problem and in some of the communities, we are finding persons, women, that believe they have nowhere to go and are staying in abusive relationships,â said Williams.
He noted that in the past, he would frown on women that stay in abusive relationships, but by going into the communities, he has realized that many of these women have no choice.
âI was against them and I would say they could do better, but I change my mind now because I realize how hard it is for some of them to leave with their three and four children and no income, no home,â said Williams.
He said he is hoping that the issue of women having nowhere to turn can be rectified soon.
Williams said that the campaign has a support team made up of persons like Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) senator Zita Barnwell, psychologist Dr Jozelle Miller, Kelly DaSilva from the Ministry of Social Development and Ronnie Daniel, who moderates the sessions.
Williams also made special mention of Joy Matthews, who told her touching story of abuse at one of the functions.
Persons and organizations which have also contributed to the success of the initiative include Tusty Water, Coreas Hazells Limited, Hairoun, lawyer and Speaker of the House of Assembly Jomo Thomas, St Vincent and the Grenadinesâ Consul General in Toronto Fitz Huggins, Kenley âShortmusâ John, Dr Wayne Murray, Dr Kenneth Uno, Curtis Lewis, Helena Thomas from the St Vincent Brewery Ltd, lawyer Kezron Walters, Jamali John, Mourine Ramjeet, Yoland London, Ikarmola LaBorde and the French Veranda Restaurant.
Williams said after the initiative has touched all the villages in the country, he is hoping to hold a march and rally.(LC)