BY JON CRONIN
Aiming to keep the spotlight on domestic violence awareness, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) led the 15th annual Brides March on Satuday, a memorial walk that commemorates the murder of Gladys Ricart the day before her wedding.
“It’s a crime that people don’t like to talk about,” Crowley said at the Atlas Park common area Saturday morning. She noted that one in four women in the United States will experience a domestic violence incident at some point in their lifetime.
“It’s a type of crime that is so personal,” she said, also noting that domestic violence is one of the prevalent crimes in her district.
“Domestic violence continues to be one of the highest reported crimes in my City Council district,” said Crowley. “It’s so important that victims know their rights and that they are not alone. Nobody should feel trapped in their own home. I hope the Bride’s March in Queens will show those affected that they are not trapped, people are there to help and they are stronger than they think.”
With a crowd ready to march behind her, Crowley said, “It is so important that victims know their rights.”
The march then went all the way up Woodhaven Boulevard to Queen Center Mall chanting “No silence in violence!”
The Gladys Ricart and Victims of Domestic Violence Memorial Walk, or Brides’ March, began on Sept. 26, 2001 to memorialize Ricart, who was murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend the day before her wedding. Participants of the march used the wedding dress as a symbol juxtaposing the happiness of her wedding day against the dour outcome of her murder.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, (D-Manhattan/Bronx), wanted to be at the inaugural march in Queens. “The numbers are alarming,” she said, adding that it is important for them to remain united on battling this front.
In 2014, there were 25 victims of family-related homicides in Queens, said Crowley.
Jasmine Ortiz, a representative of Lifeway Network, which aids women in domestic violence circumstances, spoke about her experiences of domestic abuse where she received “no support.”
“It touches my heart that there is help,” Ortiz said, explaining, that she was almost killed after she was kicked while pregnant, later stabbed and still stayed in the relationship for another six years. “No one helped,” she said. She looked to her mother, who did not help because of her own issue with domestic abuse. After the birth of her second child she found the will to leave. “I’m not gonna tell you it was easy,” Ortiz said.
Lorena Kourousias of the Violence Intervention Program, Inc. said it is “important to build support,” in a situation like this because “it is painful when the community is not supporting them.”
Salua Baida, borough supervisor of Queens Domestic Violence Project of Urban Justice Center noted that, “patriarchy is not the only form of oppression.” She believes this ongoing issue not only victimizes the children involved but potentially creates future abusers. Baida said, “it is a human issue,” and when aiding those in this situation the all the societal and personal needs of the person must be met.
CJ Morrison of the Hollaback LGBTQ international movement against street harassment, said no one deserves to hear, “You’re asking for it,” adding, “You deserve to be you on that day, that hour at that minute.”
Reach Reporter Jon Cronin at (718) 357-7400 x125, email@example.com or @JonathanSCronin