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Dr. Cato: Report any form of abuse

Dr. Cato: Report any form of abuse


by Kenara Woods

The 4th annual Lecture of Soroptimist International of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was held Thursday, November 24, at the Methodist Church Hall.

Dr. Chellise Cato was the keynote speaker on the topic, ‘Abuse In Society – With Specific Focus On Children.’

Dr. Cato noted it was disturbing that in the Caribbean child abuse is not frequently studied or researched, and therefore all her information had to be derived from the United States of America. {{more}}

She listed the various forms of abuse as, physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and neglect. Dr. Cato said that neglect accounts for 61 percent of abuse, physical abuse for 19 percent, psychological abuse for 7 percent and sexual abuse accounts for 10 percent of all child abuse cases around the world.

She mentioned an interesting fact: that children who are born as a result of unplanned pregnancies are most likely to be the victims of psychological abuse.

An alarming fact that was also raised was that 88,000 children are abused in the United States each year.

Dr. Cato said that children who are abused often are afraid to say what has happened and often say, “I did not tell because I thought it would separate my mother from my father.” Dr. Cato said an abused child tends to become withdrawn or may even show signs of deviant sexual behaviour and thus can become a child abuser also.

Dr. Cato spoke on peer abuse and the phenomenon “Date rape,” which she noted is not usually seen as a form of abuse. A study carried out in the United States at Public Schools revealed 3,500 girls and 2,400 boys while having an adolescent relationship were victims of abuse.

Dr. Cato urged persons in the community to report any forms of abuse to the police or the district nurse or doctor. She appealed to the public to initiate legal action when any form of child abuse is discovered: “Perpetrators need to pay for their actions.”