An annual show of strength against domestic violence made its way through the streets of the Bronx and Manhattan Thursday morning. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Fourteen years ago to the day, Gladys Ricart was preparing for one of the happiest moments in her life. But that changed in an instant.
"On the day that she was going to be married to this wonderful man that she fell in love with and was going to spend the rest of her life with. Her ex-boyfriend, who had been very abusive to her, came in and killed her," said Grace Perez of NYC Latinas Against Domestic Violence.
Ricart died in her wedding dress. Now every year, dozens of women walk the streets of Manhattan and the Bronx in gowns, and men in black to honor her and other victims of domestic violence at the annual Brides March.
"Domestic violence is no longer a private issue. It can lead to murder and that's exactly what happened to Gladys Ricart," said Tanya McLeod, a domestic violence survivor.
Ricart's family continues to come to the march. Reliving the day he wrestled his sister's shooter to the ground is not easy for Juan Ricart, but he returns every year to stop another family from suffering.
"Women should not be tortured. Like we say in Spanish, not even with a rose, not even with a flower should not torture women," Ricart said.
This year's event served as a backdrop for the announcement of a city ad campaign that raises awareness about domestic violence. The ads, which will show up in subways and on bus shelters, will highlight the signs of domestic abuse, which is often emotional at first but can become physical.
"If you are a victim of domestic and you are suffering in silence you are not alone. We also recognize the words and the feelings and the emotions that a victim of domestic violence goes through and the deep rooted emotional abuse that is caused and we want to say help is available," said Mayors Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Yolanda Jimenez.
After the stop at borough hall, the march continued to Hostos Community College in the Bronx and then on to Harlem.
For more information on the event, visit bridesmarch.com.