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Dear Editor: Requiem for my murdered sisters on International Women’s Day

“I have no good wishes or aspirational sentiments. I’m not checking milestones women have achieved or the records we have smashed. (…) I am preoccupied by our extinction at the hands of our men—our husbands, partners, baby fathers, lovers.

“Who can celebrate on Women’s Day when there is so much murder? Fifteen women have been murdered for this year so far. No suspect in any of these murders is another woman. We are being killed by men. Our men, who seem to be hunting us for sport. The men for whom we bear children, sacrifice careers, the men whom we support and defend.”

The following Letter to the Editor lamenting the slaughter of women by men in Trinidad and Tobago was submitted to Wired868 by attorney-at-law Christlyn Moore.

Photo: St Francis RC primary school teacher Margaret Guevara was 42 when she  was shot dead on 27 February, 2018. 

I have no good wishes or aspirational sentiments. I’m not checking milestones women have achieved or the records we have smashed. Our proximity to the ceiling, glass or otherwise, is not my concern this International Women’s Day. Instead, I am preoccupied by our extinction at the hands of our men—our husbands, partners, baby fathers, lovers.

This is a requiem for my dead sisters.

This is a requiem for young Kaya Solomon, only 25, whose life was snatched away by her husband wielding a hammer. Beautiful Kaya, mother of two, nursery school teacher with a shy smile. Wise Kaya, who acted responsibly when her husband abused her, making multiple reports to the Police. Murdered Kaya, killed at home with a hammer by a man who married her for his ‘comfort’ as if she were a sofa purchased in a sale at Courts.

This is a requiem for brave Margaret Guevara, the mother of five lovely children. Margaret taught at Sangre Grande Roman Catholic School, where the children loved her and where her co-workers respected her. Margaret with the wide smile. Margaret who, in the face of repeated abuse by her husband, left her home time and time again. Murdered Margaret, killed at 42. Shot to death in her own home by the man she married, the father of her children.

This is a requiem for ambitious Arisa Vana David. Arisa was a flower in full bloom. She was close to her mom and adored her two children, aged 2 and 7. Arisa was soft-hearted and forgiving by nature. Arisa was determined that 2018 would mean a new life for her and her children.

Photo: Arisa Van David was just 25 when she was strangled to death at her Chaguanas home on 2 January, 2018. 

Arisa, who was killed in her own bed, in the presence of her children, by a ‘close male relative.’ Arisa, who endured untold abuse at the hand of her lover since she was 18 years old—barely a woman—until her murder at age 25.

Who can celebrate on Women’s Day when there is so much murder? Fifteen women have been murdered for this year so far. No suspect in any of these murders is another woman. We are being killed by men. Our men, who seem to be hunting us for sport. The men for whom we bear children, sacrifice careers, the men whom we support and defend.

We are being killed by a justice system that is inadequate and ignorant of our vulnerability, a justice system whose response is not to protect us but to bury us. We are being extinguished by a community so frightened at its own impotence in the face of male rage that it blames us for getting killed and chastises us for not choosing our men ‘wisely,’ (as if men come with instructions tattooed on their backs).

This is a requiem for all the women whose lives were taken by the men they loved and who, in turn, hated them.

It is a requiem for all the women who will be killed this year because, in Trinidad and Tobago, for men who want to kill women, it is always open season.

Photo: WPC Nyasha Joseph’s lifeless body was found in the Gulf of Paria on 15 March, 2017.

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13 comments

  1. But Christlyn Moore suggested to Tobagonians to poison Trinis that come to Tobago during the last THA election. So I don’t get her sudden moral compass for our country
    #TakeSeveralSeats

  2. Look at the date of the photo flashback and ask yourself if that manual is in use.

  3. More men are being brutally murdered….is like 10 to 1…violence has no gender

  4. Being a woman in the Caribbean, you realize your value lies in your buttocks, breasts, wining skills, cooking skills and poonanie. You are not a person with your own mind, autonomy, but a collection of body parts and a sexual function. Should you start to assert your mind and autonomy and will, you will see very quickly that a lot of men and women too, cannot deal with it.

    But this is only half of the dysfunctional equation.

    Being a man in the Caribbean, particularly a black man of humble means, your value lies in similarly superficial things. Your machismo, your money, your aggression and dominance. Should any of these be called into question, you are treated like your innate human value is diminished. So men are forced to defend (with violence if necessary) their false narrative. They defend it against other men and also women.

    When the economy downturns and male breadwinners get retrenched and money becomes scarce, men have no currency to secure their manhood. Not with women in purely transactional relationships with them, instead of love. Not with their male peers whose friendship they buy, instead of true brotherhood. So they fall back on the only tools remaining, aggression, machismo and dominance.

    We created this culture. We can change it.

  5. I do agree that we are heading for extinction, but our men winning the race to extinction at a rate of six to one.

  6. I weep for my murdered sisters. I shed angry tears for the men by whose hands my sisters were taken away. I hold my head and bawl for my broken country and systems and leaders who fail to protect us. Right now all I can do is shed rivers of tears! But I will not remain paralysed, I vow to not let these women’s lives have been in vain. We must not let their lives be in vain. But right now all I can do is weep!

  7. This Gender based violence goes beyond normal understanding… unfortunately this is replicated in every society, women are too often treated as chattel and so not afforded the same the humanity as men…

  8. Earl Best

    Wow! Such beautiful writing for such an ugly subject. Hitting very hard where it hurts.

    • Earl Best

      Having read this, I am tempted to move to Tobago just to be able to vote for the Forwards in the next THA election. But I think I shall resist the temptation; ah fraid the Visine. Lol.

  9. On point but for all the women who held position in the highest institution Parliament ) you ALL have done nothing as the cycle of Domestic Violence continues.. Where the laws, TTPS lack of empathy to deal with victims , where the sanctuary for mothers and their children, overworked and under paid Social Workers, (issue of competence to address issues) and the list goes on and on