IT seems that everyday people are complaining about the breakdown down in our morals, the breakdown in the family, the breakdown in society, the breakdown in our human rights, the breakdown in the justice system. I could go on, but I hope by now you see where I am going with this. There is a break-down and the breakdown is getting bigger and worse because those who can do something are not doing enough and everyone else is standing around to afraid to stand up, afraid to say something, afraid to demand a change. The issues that affect us as a society don’t disappear on their own and we ignorant if we believe that we aren’t all affected in someway. Sexual Violence has been around for many years, continuing to get worse as time goes by.
The atrocities committed against our women, children and men should not be taken lightly. We can’t be the society that waits to see what will happen, we can’t be the society that hopes things will get better or change when we put in little or no effort. We can’t be the society that keeps saying “this is the Caribbean what do you expect”. We have to be a society that pushes the limits, that expects the best. Survivors of sexual assault in St.Lucia don’t get the support they need. They don’t get the understanding or compassion they expect, or deserve after being violated. Our statistics show that very few women are violated sexually on island but what that number really reflects is the number of people who come forward, and sadly not necessarily because they wanted to. Why speak out when nothing will be done to my abuser, why speak out when I will be condemned for actions committed against me. Every week I reiterate how standing by the abusers damages the survivors, how having a systems that lets them know they can get away only inflates their ego and sense of invincibility.
We, as a country need to ensure that our women, men and children are safe, we need to ensure that when their basic human rights; the right to be safe and free in their own bodies is taken seriously. We need to let them know when this right is violated – that justice is served. We have to let Sexual Abusers know that they can’t get away with their crimes against individuals.
Sexual Abuse isn’t something that goes away, it damages and it corrupts and it lasts for a lifetime. We need to educate ourselves on how to address those who have been abused. We need to educate our children on what to look for in predators. We need to let them know that we are open to listening when they have been made to feel uncomfortable by anyone and that we will stand by them before we stand by the abuser. We need to start the healing process now. We need to start the education process now. There is still hope.
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:
SouyenneDathorne, Velika Lawrence
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – email@example.com
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)