Lack Of Action On Sexual Abuse

Image: Souyenne DathorneWE all sit back and ask what is being done to address sexual violence. We are comfortable waiting for things to change, while commenting on the lack of action by those in charge.

So I ask: What are you doing or demanding be done to address the issue of sexual violence in St. Lucia? What would you like to see change? What would you like to see implemented? What do you expect from those in the positions to implement change?

I ask, because there appears to be a level of frustration and anger where issues of sexual violence are concerned but we are not demanding more be done to change the current state of things. We are happy to be angry over the phone, behind closed doors, on the radio, etc. but when a chance to act comes around, we find that few show up and even fewer are willing to act. One or two people rallying for change is never as effective as 100 or 200 people rallying for changes or amendments to sexual violence policy.

Sexual violence isn’t a crime that affects only the victim, it affects the family she/he comes from, the community in which they are based, the country in which they live and eventually the world in which we all reside. There are things that are beyond our control, but crimes of sexual violence are within our power to address. The reactions we have to survivors/victims is within our power to change. We should not be comfortable living in a world where countless people are sexually victimized on an hourly basis.

I’ll ask again, what are you doing to help address issues of sexual violence in St. Lucia? For many of you, the honest answer would be: Nothing. We are products of the bystander effect. We sit back, doing nothing hoping/thinking that someone else will stand up and do it. What we end up with is inaction to cases of sexual violence. No one does anything and therefore nothing changes. We continue to exist in a world where sexual violence is rampant, where we are constantly looking over our shoulders hoping that we will not fall victim to a sexual predator. We continue to live in a world where sexual predators not only roam freely, but are ever aware of how the judicial and court system work, which sadly, is in their favour.

We want change but don’t want to put in the work. We are afraid of what people will think about us, of what they will say, or how we will be categorized. And so, we let our petty insecurities stand in the way of making change possible. We have become passive and indifferent and yet we want more to be done. Yes, we sit back and criticize doing nothing more than they are. One’s position or lack thereof doesn’t excuse the choice of inaction. You are just as guilty of doing nothing. You are just as guilty of allowing things to deteriorate.

So I ask that you not let 2015 end without making some small step to address sexual violence in your home or community. No one person can do this alone, so please join us in addressing sexual violence in St. Lucia. Join us in trying to enact policy and change. Join us in raising awareness and education. Join us in ending victim blaming and rape culture. Join us in supporting and validating survivors of sexual violence. You have to start somewhere, so please start where you feel comfortable, BUT START.

We at PROSAF are always here to listen and support you. Feel free to contact us. If you are interested in submitting an article or poem, please feel free to email us what you are thinking of and we can further discuss. Remember you are not alone. You are strong and brave. You will get through your healing process but it takes time and patience. We are here to help and listen. Feel free to contact us if you ever need a place to offload or vent. We are available for group and individual counselling.

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