How many more have to be raped, molested, sodomized, before we realize the magnitude of the crime?
What will it take to get the attention of the government and the various agencies who deal with the victims of these crimes?
Too often on the news, we hear, of the woman who was raped/gang raped, we hear of the little boy or girl who was brutalized, coerced, abused. What will it take for us to realize and accept that sexual violence is a serious issue affecting St. Lucia? How many more will we allow to be hurt because we are willing to accept the little that is being done?
Sexual violence; is a violation of the body and of the mind. So much is remembered about the attack, about the attacker, about the reaction you received when you chose to speak up/seek help. We would like to believe, or to fool ourselves into believing that sexual violence is something that happens and then the individual gets over it. We desperately want to believe that so this crime isn’t classified as being heinous, so that we don’t feel the need to do more to aid survivors or address the current issues.
But it is, it damages the individual; it leaves them with invisible and visible scars. It leaves them with the voice, the scent, the image, the touch of their abuser. There is no way to adequately explain what one deals with in the instant and every moment after. We accuse survivors of holding onto the past, of not wanting to forget or forgive. We accuse them of wanting to seek sympathy, attention or revenge. Survivors don’t want to remember or “hold onto the past”. In fact many survivors spend a great deal of their lives trying not to remember. Survivors who speak out/share their stories are not looking for sympathy or attention or revenge; it has and is taking a lot from them to speak up and out about what they suffered. They are not looking for a sorry from you or attention from anyone; they are trying to rebuild and take back what was taken from them; their voice, their choices, their sense of self. They are not trying to get back at their abuser; they are letting the abuser know ‘I will no longer keep your secret, I am no longer afraid of you’.
We have to acknowledge that sexual violence is a huge problem in St. Lucia and over the past couple of weeks the number of victims reporting has been astronomical. We have to want to address the issue, to want to protect the vulnerable and the innocent:Sexual violence damages any and every individual it touches. Let us begin to act now, let us educate the youth and adults alike about sexual violence. Let us ask that better training be implemented for those dealing with survivors/victims. Let us demand better laws and harsher punishment for perpetrators of this crime. Let us validate those who have been sexually violated. Let us condemn those who sexually violate. Let us do whatever is necessary to reduce the number of people being violated in our country.
We would like to serve as the safe place that you can come to seek support and validation through your healing process. We understand that this is a big step that not everyone is ready to make yet. We completely understand. Don’t be hard on yourself, when you are ready we will be here. For those of you who are ready, please feel free to call, text or email us. We at PROSAF are always here to listen and support you. Feel free to contact us via the information below. 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 counseling.
SouyenneDathorne, Velika Lawrence
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