Novelist Natasha N.C. Marks took a public stand in Arnos Vale over the weekend against the “horrendous” violence that women and girls are experiencing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said her publisher here.
“The two premier secondary schools in St Vincent gathered more than 1100 students to express their disgust at the alarming increase in violence against women,” reported St. Vincent Times. (https://bit.ly/3wK5moj)
Girls and boys from of other secondary schools took part in the anti-violence stand at locations near their schools. The demonstration of well over 2,000 students and school staff is unprecedented in recent SVG history, said Marks, who is also the geography teacher at GHS.
The massive gathering might have been sparked at a tipping point of public outrage by the recent murder of a female thought to be a teenager. On May 12, the decomposing body of the female, reportedly stabbed and stuffed in a crocus bag, was discovered in an area of Murrays Village, just outside of Kingstown, capital of SVG.
The GHS deputy headmistress Athalie Caine-Soleyne alerted parents of students in a May 17 letter that, “Considering the recent horrendous acts of violence against women in our beloved St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG),” the GHS staff and students “are moved to act.”
“Our brother school, the St. Vincent Boys Grammar School, plans on standing with us in solidarity,” wrote Caine-Soleyne. Parents were invited to join the “visible stand against violence in all forms against women in SVG.”
N.C. Marks is no stranger to decrying violence against women in her society. The violent scenes of abused women in her novel Plastered in Pretty (2018) are graphic and disturbing.
The author fearlessly describes government officials, landlords, and men – and women – in other positions of power who wantonly abuse women without legal or moral consequence, said Lasana M. Sekou, HNP’s projects director.
In his critique of Marks’ upcoming poetry book, University of Belize lecturer Ubaldimir Guerra suggests that it is with unflinching love for her country and commitment to human rights that N.C. Marks bears “fiery” witness to “rape culture,” corruption, and unresolved issues of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the 2021 volcanic eruption of La Soufrière in SVG.
On the placard held by Marks at Friday’s demonstration, the St. Vincent map was painted red. The text beneath the island outline read: “Red Zone for Women.” On the official Volcanic Hazard Map the deadliest area relative to an eruption is illustrated in red with the warning text: “Hazard Zone 1 (Red Zone) – Very High Hazard.” (https://bit.ly/3PAg4qo)