All across Trinidad and Tobago too many women have sought and continue to seek safety against violence and abuse. Many of these women live daily not more than a moment away from sharing the tragic fate of Asami Nagakiya. The violence inflicted upon them has little to do with their behaviour or the way they dress but because they are vulnerable.

Vulnerable because as a society, we appear to be resigned to the fact that domestic violence and violence against women is a normal part of a relationship. It is not and we need to change the message. In the absence of a national outcry against this behaviour, children who are exposed to these situations can only conclude that it is a normal part of life. We need to teach them that it is not.

The outcry over the murder of Asami Nagakiya ought to be repeated each time a women cries out for protection against violence and abuse. Our children need to know, all women need to know, that they will be protected. As a society, we must not stay silent as if condoning such behaviour.

It is therefore precisely why at times such as these, that those in authority and influence must express their unequivocal condemnation of all forms of violence against women. Their statements must be very clear and unambiguous. There must be no doubt that they reject any and all violent and abusive behaviour inflicted against women.

Asami Nagakiya wasn’t murdered because she was enjoying carnival, but because she was one of those vulnerable. We must all do our part in defending them.

The Shelter joins the national community in expressing deep sadness over her death and extends condolences to her family. May she rest in peace.