THE EDITOR, Sir:
You know what really disturbed me about the case of the sexual abused 11-year-old? I read in The Gleaner where the mother stated that her daughter trembled when the alleged perpetrator was brought in.
I found it hard to believe that the little girl had to see that animal, if indeed he is convicted, so soon after outing him to the lawmen.
I then found myself wondering what facilities and/or policies are in place to sensitively deal with rape victims in this country.
In lieu of such information, I would like to recommend the following for consideration:
1 I am aware that most police stations and hospitals are short on space, but it should not be too costly to create a safe and private room to interview rape victims.
2 Each parish should have a minimum of two female officers trained to interview female rape victims. As males are now also being molested, perhaps we need to also train male officers. These could be based anywhere in the parish but should be accessible within 30 minutes when needed.
Once the person enters the reception area and complains of rape, she should be taken to a private room to be interviewed. A woman should interview a female, particularly if the victim is a child.
3 If at all possible, the victim and the perpetrator should not be allowed to meet, if they happen to be in the station at the same time.
4 The perpetrator, if convicted, should not be released back into the same home as the rape survivor, particularly if no rehabilitative work was done with him.
5 At the hospital, there should be a private room available for the interview and examination, not in the hearing of other patients or other staff.
6 Pregnancy, HIV testing and follow-up should be a mandatory recommendation.
7 The gender of the nurse interviewer and doctor doing the intimate examination should be gender specific.
8 This Government must move on with the sex offender registry which came up for discussion in the previous administration.
9 No convicted paedophile or other sex offender should be allowed to work in any environment frequented by children.
I am unaware how many of these initiatives are already in place. If any, I am glad, as we are moving in the right direction. Let the world see evidence that we care about our children. Electronic media ensure that all our dirty linen gets well and truly aired. Let's bring some balance to the situation. I hope the children's advocate and women's groups will also take note.