Over the past few months we have been bombarded with one case of assault after another. The questions will remain until things start to change; how many more have to suffer, when will the loss of life push us to change or to demand greater action? When will we start fighting for the rights of the victim? So much is expected from those who survive these crimes; move on, get over it, you have survived. Yes a survivor is acutely aware of this but it doesn’t make the road to recovery any easier nor does it aid in trying to comprehend how you may have been affected and how they should proceed with their lives. I have heard people mourn over the loss of the life of the perpetrator; how their crimes have negatively affected their lives but we fail to mourn the loss of the victims of their crimes. We fail to see that even though an individual may have survived the initial assault, that parts of them were killed and forever changed during the attack. We fail to empathize with the victims for their loss.

Loss is a complex feeling; it appears that we can only understand it when we actually see something is taken. A perpetrator is caught and locked away and so he experiences a loss of freedom. We don’t seem to understand that a woman/man/child experiences loss when they are violated. We fail to understand what is taken at that moment that will never be regained is something loss as well. Most cultures find it hard to understand what one who is raped or sexually assaulted goes through, many find it easier to blame the victim rather than the perpetrator, we are failing to see that those very actions reinforce sexual crimes. Many perpetrators know that people prefer to turn a blind eye to the abuse they know is happening next door, many abusers know that people’s emotions are peeked when the tragedy occurs but will die down a couple of weeks after. Many perpetrators understand the environment they are offending in, they know how the people react and what they will get away with. In the Caribbean many perpetrators of sexual assault know the system is flawed, they know that people are more inclined to ignore the crimes being committed, they know that people are more likely to stand by them than against them. They continue to assault, they continue to rack up the number of individuals who will join the victim pool. Asking for things to get better, demanding change starts with us, we have to be willing to stand up and say something when we know a crime is being committed. We have to aware enough to pick up on the cues that are presenting themselves. We have to attempt putting ourselves in the shoes of one who is victimized sexually. Wanting things to change requires that we do our part as well. It requires that we put aside our feelings of discomfort to ensure that survivors are surrounding with support, it requires we all become advocates against sexual crimes. Too many have fallen victim to sexual crimes in the past few months and from what we know the likelihood is that many more have stayed silent. Victims who survive crimes of this nature are left with quite a lot to deal with and very few options for support and even fewer avenues that result in adequate punishment for those carrying out the crimes. St. Lucians have to want to change things and be willing to be part of the change.

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. Over the past month we started conducting a study on sexual assault; with the hope of gauging how often it occurs, how often people tell and what they want to see done, among other things. We thank those of you who have come forward thus far; the study is currently on a short break until later on in the year. For those of you willing to speak with us feel free to call or email and we will give you further information on when the study will be restarted. This is only the beginning; together we will make a difference.

We can be contact by the numbers on the bottom, or by email.
Yours Sincerely
Souyenne Dathorne & Velika Lawrence
Email: ssaitco@hotmail.com – thepowerofone_v@hotmail.com
Facebook: SURVIVING SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE CARIBBEAN: https://www.facebook.com/pages/PROSAF-Surviving-Sexual-Abuse-in-the-Caribbean/165341356853908
Twitter: @PROSAF_SUEEZZY: https://twitter.com/PROSAF_Sueezzy
Webpage: http://www.prosaf.org/
Telephone: 1-758-724-9991(sue) 1-758-723-6466(vel)
Sexual Violence Support & Validation Hotline: 1-758-452-2273 , 1-758-484-2773
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