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SVG Christian Coalition Speaks Out on Rape and Sexual Assault

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I applaud the Christian Coalition for its recent statement on Rape and Sexual Assault. It seemed to have been motivated by the annual UN Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence that ran from November 25 to December 10. It missed the Campaign by at least a week, but we should not hold that against the grouping. The fact is that they have not only made a statement but called for a national discourse that can provide greater insights into the problem. So, I am lending my pen to their call and hopefully, campaign.

 This issue of rampant rape and sexual assault has been around for some time, but the fact that law enforcement officers are now among the accused has apparently pushed them. The discourse had started for some time. When psychologist Kimberley Cambridge raised the alarm by describing the situation of rape as part of a Rape Culture, the discourse got thrown off course by those who used their political blindness to level all sorts of accusations against her. Among those, was that she was assisting in providing bad publicity for the Country. Not the rapists and sexual molesters, but one who dared to speak out against what was indeed a frightening situation. I am not sure if many Churches lent her support, but now it has gone completely out of bounds and the Country’s image is certainly sullied more than ever, if that is possible. There has been a call for a Sexual Offenders Register and given what is happening that Call is something which should be supported.

 For those following the news over the past three months, at least, they must have been wondering what kind of Devil has inflicted itself on our country to produce what seemed to have become contagious. What I found incredibly disquieting is that the more news reports appeared of such incidents, the more our men seemed to be gravitating that way. Something has to be done urgently.

Dialogue is certainly welcomed but concrete measures have to be taken immediately.  I note that at the recent Prisons Public Speaking competition a police officer who has been jailed for raping a 12-year- old girl spoke on the topic “Can More Be Done to Combat the Rampant in Sexual Offences in SVG”. Despite his denial of the claims made against him it is important that we hear from him and others about the madness or rather sickness that has overtaken our country that someone at some time called ‘Home of the Blessed’. The now former police officer admits that SVG is grappling with an increase in crime, and ‘in particular’ sexual offences. He called for programmes to counsel sexual offenders and potential offenders. I am not sure how it is possible to identify potential offenders except we look at all males as possible offenders, because certainly the offense is not limited to class or social status.  He asks for rehabilitation programs at prisons with a focus on sexual offences with parole follow-up. I am not sure if he did, but it might have been good to hear what drove him to do what he seemed to have been denying he did. Let all ideas contend but let us find out from other offenders what motivated them, although they probably don’t know and are not in a position to diagnose their sickness.

The Coalition has pledged to continue its advocacy and we look forward to this and to joining them. I am not sure if all churches are part of the Coalition but the voice of the Church despite everything else still carries some weight. Let the Conversation continue but remember that the problem will not be solved by dialogue alone!

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian

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