Mon | Aug 20, 2018

Rescue, uplift sex-abuse victims

Published:Friday | March 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM


We are Caribbean people living in the diaspora. We are from different parts of the region and from different social locations. Some of us are survivors of sexual violence. Many of us have family and friends in the region and many of us plan to return there.

We have been shocked and distressed by recent reports on abductions and killings of girls, testimonies from women and girls about experiences of everyday sexual abuse on the street, in public transport and in interactions at the workplace and at home. We have also been angered by reports that those in positions of power are guilty of the abuse of minors. These include the leaders of the Church, educational, state and political organisations, as well as individuals or family members entrusted with the care of children.

We therefore write in strong support of the Tambourine Army and activist groups organising across the region to stop sexual violence of all kinds and to stop violence against women and children. We have much to learn from their work and we endorse their efforts to bring the ongoing crisis to the attention of the public.

We call on Caribbean governments to meet their demands and the demands of women and men across the Caribbean for the following:

- Allocation of state funds for a shelter for abused women across our countries by the end of 2017.

- Strengthened restorative justice and psychological support for victims.

- 'Targeted activism' in schools (including colleges and universities), communities and the workplace through funding for public education initiatives about gender based violence and harassment.

- Work with youth (counselling and mentoring).

- Strengthened community policing and special training for police on questions of sexual violence so that perpetrators may be held accountable and victims supported.

- The use of critical points such as health services for speedier interventions in situations of crisis.