Tue | May 23, 2017

What is the value of the girl child?

Published:Thursday | January 12, 2017 | 1:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The recent reported case of sexual violence against a 15-year-old girl, allegedly perpetrated by the Reverend Rupert Clarke of the Nazareth Moravian Church, has a lot of people outraged in this nation. It has brought to the fore the great stigma, shame and denial in our society when it comes to violence against women and girls. It has brought to the fore and in our faces what the value of a girl child truly is when she is measured against so-called persons of authority and supposed 'pillars' of society. The stench of hypocrisy runs like a long sewerage, overdue for cleaning.

 

LETTER TO ABUSED TEEN

 

* This is an open letter to the 15-year-old survivor.

We know that at this moment, you may be scared. You may even be confused about all that's happening around you. As you read newspaper articles and listen to the nation speaking on this issue, we want you to know that you have our love and support. Your story has touched us all. Your pain is our pain and the pain of many other women and girls. You are not alone.

Little one, we wish you never had to go through this traumatic ordeal. We wish your path was different. We wish your family could have protected you. But, like many other Jamaican women and girls, someone scarred your childhood. Someone stole your innocence. Someone caused you pain.

Don't allow what happened to make you think less of yourself. You are still a strong, beautiful being, and you are worthy of love and happiness.

We know you may be wondering why this had to happen to you. You may even start blaming yourself for what happened. Listen to me, listen to us: It is not your fault. You were violated.

This will be a tough time for you and those who love you. Be comforted by the fact that what happened will only make you stronger. Be comforted in knowing that, one step at a time, with healing, things do get better.

Your healing process will take time. You have an army of strong, compassionate and bold women standing with you. We will always fight for you because we know you are worthy. We will make things better, for you and all the nation's children.

We love you.

We are here for you.

We will support you

We will stand with you and for you.

To you and all survivors of sexual violence, here is a list of persons and organisations that may support you on your healing journey:

- I'm Glad I'm A Girl Foundation - 927-2540

- Eve for Life - 620-0515/

831-8559

- Child Development Agency - 948-1145/948-0243

- Victim Support Unit - 946-0663/946-9286

- WE-Change - 946-2116/772-6937

If you decide to move forward with seeking support and healing, we are willing to accompany you.

Shawna D. Stewart

WE-Change Support Group Co-Facilitator