Vincentian Women, wake up, run!
Jennifer Richardson
Our Readers' Opinions
March 10, 2020

Vincentian Women, wake up, run!

EDITOR: It is with great pain that I am compelled to write this letter as I sit in silence contemplating the safety of women in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

What is the state of women in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and are they safe? The government speaks proudly of the empowerment of women, women running various ministries and departments, women in very prominent positions in this country, lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers etc. and no doubt they are; then there are those who are not so prominent, the domestics, the farmers the home helpers etc. But are women safer in the advent of all of this progress? I leave that question for all of us to ponder.

As a woman in this country, it saddens me to admit that with all of the progress being made it is only surface deep and very little is changing in terms of safety and security. Before the Education Revolution our women regardless of their status in this society were being abused, physically, sexually, emotionally, financially, they were being killed; almost 20 years after the Education Revolution they are now more educated, hold higher offices in this country, but are still being abused physically, sexually, emotionally, financially and still being killed.

The age of technology, with its cell phones and the internet, has allowed us to see what hitherto was hidden and covered up so that it appeared that these things were not so prominent long ago, but they were. How often did we as children sit in a classroom and see the teacher, Miss This and Miss That, coming in with a black and blue eye, or classmates unable to come to school because they had nothing to eat, daddy went to the rum shop drank off the money, came home to look for what he did not put down and beat the woman mercilessly in the presence of their children, because she could not provide? Is there any wonder we have created a generation of men who grew up seeing these things and believing that they own the woman they are with and so can do whatever they like to and with her? We have sown the wind and we are now reaping the whirlwind.

My sisters, today I want to beg you to empower yourselves, you are valuable, you have worth; you are beautiful, you are no man’s possession; he does not own you. Do not hand over your heart and life to any man and do not

become so dependent on a man that you become trapped in a toxic relationship that can cost you your life! The government is offering all sorts of training these days, there is TVET, SKYE, YATE and a host of adult education programmes. There is now a new initiative called PRIME, if you are minded to become an entrepreneur. Ensure that you so position yourself that you can stand on your own two feet so that when things get to a point that you can’t take it anymore you know what to do, RUN! Yes, literally run for your life and do not go back, (back is death). Take your children, if there are any, and run, because to stay may cost you your life as we have seen in the past and are seeing right now.

Women in this country are becoming endangered; we have to look out for each other. We must become our sister’s keeper, as the police in this country seem unable or unwilling to protect the sisters, as the male fraternity continues to take advantage of and kill us. Women, run for your lives, save yourselves and your children. Do not stay in abusive relationships.

Having said all of that, let me say that not all relationships are toxic, some are quite good and I have seen many good ones. A positive relationship is desirable, in other words it is good to have a man (if that is your desire) whose presence in your life will enhance it, not make it worse, but take your time, get to know him before becoming involved, pay attention to the red flags.

Finally, my sisters, you do not need a man to survive in this world, you can do without them, yes you can. Stop giving your hearts away to men, guard your heart with your life and give it only to God.

My God says that His grace is sufficient for you; I implore you to trust Him today (not man), make Him Lord of your life and let Him lead your way.

Women of SVG, stay safe.

Jennifer Richardson