FOR too long we have sat in the shadows waiting and hoping that someone would stand up and do something to right the wrongs that were inflicted upon survivors of sexual violence.
Many survivors have gone through their lives wondering what they did to deserve being sexually assaulted.
When I say sexually assaulted, I am covering the entire gamut of sexual actions that is perpetrated against another human beings: rape forced or coerced sexual assault, incest, molestation, fondling, sodomy, attempted rape, attempted incest/molestation, etc.
We hoped that with time there would be a deeper understanding of what someone who is sexually assaulted has to deal with, of what they go through and of what should be done to protect them.
We hoped that with time the law would develop legislature that appropriately and adequately addressed the issues of sexual assault.
We hoped there would be more avenues to aid in the recovery of those who have fallen victim to this crime.
We hoped there would be a greater awareness of what this crime is and how victims are affected.
We hoped that there would be more organizations helping those who have been affected.
I know there are places for survivors of sexual assault to turn but more is needed. They need a place dedicated to this crime, with people who understand what they are going through, people who will stand by them and walk them through every-step of this terrible ordeal.
They need to know they will not be judged, or blamed for being a victim of this crime, but instead supported and validated.
We are all still waiting for the change to take place. It appears that regardless of who is running the country, the issue of sexual violence never seems important enough to warrant a conversation or funding.
It appears that people are outraged by the act but not outraged enough to demand that more is done.
A sexual predator preys on women, men, children and he/she does this for their lifetime. They find ways to continue sexually assaulting no matter how old they get.
Don’t we think there should be a better system in place to deal with criminals of this nature?
Letting them go will not help past victims, current victims and will only serve to open the door for future individuals to be victimized by this same individual.
I am not advocating that we lock up sexual predators indefinitely, but that they too receive counseling and an assessment to their proclivity to commit this crime again. Serving time without rehabilitation and assessment is pointless.
You have pulled a predator off the streets for a period of time only to release him with no examination of his crimes. This course of action doesn’t address the issue.
I have said it more than once but will continue to reiterate; sexual assault causes great damage to the individuals who survive this ordeal; they are left with a lengthy list of issues to deal with; nightmares, trust & intimacy issues, body image issues, self-worth issues, self-esteem issues and this is only part of the list.
How can we sit back and do nothing knowing that individuals suffer for so long after the attack.
How can we sit back and blame one who is raped or molested?
Please answer: how a person brings this upon themself?
We need to stop making excuses and start acting. We need to start helping survivors and ensuring perpetrators are brought to justice. PROSAF is working towards these goals.
Survivors of sexual assault need a supportive environment to begin the healing process.
They need to believe and feel that they are part of a culture that doesn’t support individuals who commit sexual crimes.
We have to be the difference we want to see in our country.
We have to be willing to start to make change. We, at PROSAF, have acknowledged that violence against women is a problem in St.Lucia and the wider Caribbean.
We are here to begin the metamorphosis that is desperately needed.
We are always here to listen and if you are not ready to come forward but need a listening ear, feel free to contact us.
Remember that Sexual assault is something that happens to people, it does not define them, it is something that was done to them. Survivors, Victims, Thrivers remember you are a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman/child/man who has suffered a trauma through no fault of your own.
You are not guilty of any crime, something was done to you against your will Sexual Assault is something that happened to you, it does not define you. You are worthy of love and happiness.
Always remember that you are not alone, that you have nothing to be ashamed of. We are taking the baby steps necessary to make it better for all. KNOW YOU HAVE A SAFE SPACE IN PROSAF.
If you are interested in finding out more information about sexual violence and what you can do as part of this community, please feel free to contact us at:
Souyenne Dathorne, Velika Lawrence
Email: email@example.com – firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: SURVIVING SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE CARIBBEAN: https://www.facebook.com/pages/PROSAF-Surviving-Sexual-Abuse-in-the-Caribbean/165341356853908
Webpage: http://www.prosaf.org (under construction)
Telephone: 1-758-724-9991(sue) 1-758-723-6466(vel)