For several people when they see Tamika Walton, the first thing they see is a strikingly attractive woman.
This Guyanese-born young woman is part-Amerindian and Indian. She is tall, slender, has a pair of stunningly exotic eyebrows and most importantly is able to engage in an intellectually stimulating conversation. What persons are unable to see at first glance, though, is the passion that burns within her.
Many may not know, but this beauty is on a mission. A mission to end domestic violence in Barbados. Hers is a goal that is very near to her heart, she told Bajan Vibes
Sitting in the gazebo in Queen’s Park recently, the past Garrisonian explained that a personal situation was the catalyst that endeared her to this mission. Unfortunately, however, this was the horrific murder of a close friend reportedly as a result of domestic violence.
“I guess Onicka woke me up. I wouldn’t say I was in a physically abusive relationship, but I had a relationship whereas I lost my identity somewhere in-between. It was much more emotional than anything else. When you reach the point where you feel there is nothing more you can do to make him happy –– like something is wrong with you –– then something is wrong in that relationship,” the 23–year–old said.
“I hear young people talking and this is becoming an everyday something. If your boyfriend gives you a slap, it seems as if it is okay now. It is not something like, ‘Oh my God, he hit me’. It is becoming a norm and that is not right. That is not right with me. We are starting wrong; and if we start wrong we are going to end wrong,” she passionately added.
Walton tells Bajan Vibes that she intends to officially launch her campaign in October, targeting mainly schools at first. The St Michael resident stressed domestic violence was on a rise here in Barbados and she wanted to begin with girls from young, because it was then that they could possibly prevent them from getting involved in a physically or verbally abusive relationship.
She said: “I find that what we tend to do is sweep it under the rug. Yes we are small, we are tropical, certain things discussed are a bit taboo; you might not want to tell anyone. You don’t want to be in anyone’s business, you don’t want to offend anyone; but what I find is the more we are keeping our mouth shut, it’s turning into something else. This is something we need to talk about because it is taking place, and this domestic violence is something we need to deal with from early.
“It is a speak out campaign. What we are trying to do is basically have a place where we train persons, whether it be within a school, a next door neighbour or your girlfriend. We teach you how to handle the situation. So if you are in that situation, you don’t necessarily have to go and speak to a complete stranger, you would speak to someone that you know and based on the training and the classes that we provide, you would know how to help.
“I know domestic abuse is a touchy situation. You can’t just say leave, go away. Sometimes leave is the hardest thing. It is a work in progress but the aim and the main goal is to get the person out of the situation with confidence and when you feel you will be able to be comfortable after the fact. Where we can provide a safe place. No other woman in Barbados should ever have to die again at the hands of a partner. If I can help one person that would be enough,” the young woman lamented.
In addition to getting the message to Barbadians, Walton has aspired to spread the information beyond these shores through the Miss Humanity International pageant. This pageant will be held in island in August and it gives contestants a platform from which they could spread their humanitarian campaigns to a large number of people. Women from all across the world, including New Zealnad, India, Haiti, Nigeria and Australia, are expected to compete.
The former Miss Holetown is the lone representative for Barbados. With a slight giggle Walton said she was a bit nervous but with “her girls” on her mind she was ready to work hard for them and get the message to the people.
“My mission is clear. I am doing this for the girls and women of Barbados. Even if I don’t win, I will be out pushing the message that domestic violence is not normal. It is not right; and no woman, or man for that matter, should ever have to suffer at the hands of another,” she said.