United and Strong and its regional partner ECADE have strongly denounced all forms of sexual abuse, discrimination and violence perpetrated against young people.
The organisations were responding to videos currently circulating that alleged sexual abuse, including sexual acts without consent, as well as the physical attack against the alleged perpetrator.
“We unequivocally condemn any form of violence. Such actions cannot be condoned. Anyone who carries out or participates in violence or action(s) that result in physical or mental distress of another must face the full brunt of the law,” noted the organisations in a release.
United and Strong in particular stated that “however heinous the alleged act, citizens should never take the law into their own hands, vigilante justice is never the answer” and that “there should no space for violence among our people.”
“While we depend on public information to address criminal acts, these reports must be made to the authorities. We note that the circulation of these videos may also constitute a rights violation, particularly of the young people who are the subject of the videos. As a human rights-based organisation, we add caution to any individual who confronts these youth and /or circulates videos publicly instead of alerting the authorities, that these actions may constitute harassment and further violation,” United and Strong stressed.
The organisation laments that too often young men are left in vulnerable positions and in situations in which they are exploited. It called for a proper social safety net, including emergency housing and shelters for young men, saying that this is vital.
“Although there are some shelters for at-risk women, which is not enough, no such facility exists for our men. The lack of a men’s resource centre means that too often young males are not only left exposed to the elements, but are increasingly at the mercy of those who discriminate on marginalized groups who are often vulnerable,” United and Strong asserted.
“We hope that these matters are quickly resolved in the criminal justice system. United and Strong stands ready to work with all stakeholders in protecting and keeping our youth and our most vulnerable, safe,” the organisation concluded.