On Friday morning, 28 victims whose voices were silenced by family violence were remembered in the annual Silent Witness Ceremony.
The Silent Witness Ceremony event is the first of many activities the Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence has planned for the month of October. Executive Director Cynthia Cabot talks about the event and its significance.
“We’re fortunate that we will be having the governor present the signing of the proclamation as well as the presentation of the legislative resolution as part of the Silent Witness ceremony. To give you a background on that, this is actually to honor and remember the 28 victims that we recognize as Guam’s silent witnesses and of course, there’s no doubt we’ve had quite a number of fatalities to domestic violence. But these are the ones whose cases have been unfortunately resolved,” Cabot said.
This year’s event was organized in collaboration with the St. Anthony Church and the Archdiocese of Agana along with the governor’s office and community partners. Lt. Governor Joshua Tenorio and Senator Tina Muna Barnes also gave presentations during the ceremony.
Cabot stated that according to the statistics given to the Guam Coalition from GPD, in 2019, about 1,000 family violence cases were reported. However, she believes this only reflects 20% of the actual cases, compared to national statistics.
Given the pandemic, Cabot said the number of reported cases may not recently reflect the number of cases the coalition has seen. She added that cases are also not always reported directly to GPD.
If you or anyone you know is or could be a victim of domestic violence, check out the Guam Coalition’s online directory at pacificregionrescources.org. Also, contact VARO’s 24-hour service hotline at 477-5552.