Story By: Diana Dias

The Women’s Coalition of St. Croix held a motorcade on Saturday in recognition of domestic violence.

The “Drive out DV” was limited to only 25 vehicles and cyclists because of COVID-19 restrictions, and began at the V.I. Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Council’s office in the Sion Farm Shopping Center at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Women’s Coalition event was one of several such activities that have had to improvise because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many turned to motorcades and other creative ways to recognize important events.

Participants in the motorcade drove through St. Croix honking horns to show their support. The parade of vehicles proceeded to the McBean Clock Tower at the waterfront in Frederiksted, where the motorcade ended.

The Women’s Coalition of St. Croix is a nonprofit organization that offers advocacy and assistance to crime victims, survivors and families on St. Croix. Participants included the Legal Services of the Virgin Islands, USVI Department of Health, USVI Department of Human Services, V.I. Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council, V.I. Cycling Federation and the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center.

Attorney Shelby Gaddy is ready to participate in the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix motorcade. (Photo provided by the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix)

Attorney Shelby Gaddy, executive director of Legal Services V.I., said on a live video, “It is important for Legal Services to be a part of this because we need to end domestic violence, not only here but throughout the world. Legal Services supports those who are advocates, those who are support services and all. We need to make the world aware it is not okay to hurt somebody else.”

The Women’s Coalition of St. Croix held activities throughout October acknowledging domestic violence, including a purple ribbon campaign, supermarket wish list campaign, virtual acknowledgment of those taken by domestic violence, national purple day and domestic violence motorcade. The organization also organized the use of social media hashtags to share a message of hope. They requested supporters use hashtags like “#igotyourback, #yoteapoyo and #yotetengo” in support of victims.

A T-shirt proclaims a message against domestic violence. (Photo provided by the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix)

“Ending domestic violence requires attention and action all year-round. But during October, we turn the spotlight on higher with events and campaigns to educate, promote prevention efforts and encourage more support for survivors,” according to the information posted on the Women’s Coalition’s page on Facebook.

The number of domestic violence cases reported in the territory has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Anyone who is suffering from domestic violence inflicted by a caregiver, partner, family member or knows someone who is, can call 911 in an emergency or call the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix at 340-773-9272, for information on free services and crisis intervention. The organization also can be reached by email at info@wcstx.org.

Anyone who wants to volunteer with the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix can call 340-773-9272 or send donations to the organization online.

Click here for the original story.