The memorial service was a very small one. We were all wearing masks and tried hard to distance ourselves. Many are so afraid of the possibility of getting the virus. They have the hardest time not greeting each other with hugs so many have reverted to fists bumps which is their way of safe minimum contact.
Reverend Betania felt it was important that we recognize the fact that domestic violence is rising in the country due to stay at home orders and the severe economic impact of the pandemic.
And that we as a church need to make a statement against it.
We hung banners, put pictures of victims on the outside office walls facing the street, hung clothes that were bloodied (with red paint) and newspaper testimonies of violence in the homes. We designed a brochure encouraging the aggressors and the victims what to do in the most desperate times and where to seek help. We built a little cemetery with wooden crosses and a plaque to represent and honor the women and young girls who have died as victims of domestic violence.
The local news channel came and interviewed Rev. Betania and Bishop Cancu giving this IED Church statement sharing with a wider audience.
Altagracia did a skit with young kids about the seriousness of relationships. Because the young people were so cute and clever during the skit, Gordy and I could not help chuckling. None of the Dominicans did however. One woman stood in the back of the crowd, commenting, “That’s true. That’s exactly what happens.” The skit ended with the mom kneeling in front of her daughter and asking her forgiveness for not honoring the daughter’s wisdom in the middle of potentially dangerous relationships at home.
We ended the service with everyone, including the children, signing a document saying that we as a church, the Iglesia Evangelica Dominican stand against violence in the home.
It was the most powerful, spiritual service I have been a part of for a long time.