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Increase in rape cases worrying

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27.JUNE.08

Editor:

We are gravely concerned about the increased incidence of rape perpetrated against women and girls in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

A local newspaper in its June 6, 2008, edition carried a disturbing report of ‘twenty cases of rape and sexual assault’ in the constituencies of East and West St George.{{more}} The same newspaper in the June 2 edition reported a rape at knifepoint at Queen’s Drive. Those reports did not include the latest attack reported by the electronic media this past week.

Given the startling figures presented in the newspaper, you can understand why we have good reasons to be concerned. We are also aware that many such incidents go unreported. Too many of our sisters are traumatized by the act of rape and humiliated by the stigma attached to the label ‘rape victim’. We are also concerned that many victims feel that there is no justice for them as perpetrators are often not made to suffer the consequences of their actions.

This act of violence stems from several factors, including a breakdown of social morals and an increasing lack of respect for self and others. We are not of the view that a woman invites rape because of the way she carries herself. However, we are aware that there is some connection between certain visual stimuli and the awakening of sexual desires in men.

We, therefore, appeal to our mothers, sisters and daughters to stop the over-exposure and dress modestly. Additionally, we also call for stiffer penalties for rapists and for greater sensitivity on the part of a society which seems to think that rape is not as bad as it sounds.

We recommend that the government immediately set about establishing more trauma/counselling centres to handle the increased cases of rape. We also recommend that more resources and greater effort be put into educating our young men in particular on the contemptible nature of rape in the hope that we could help alter the mindset of the next generation.

And while we advocate all kinds of social outreach efforts, we acknowledge that the only lasting cure for the sick mind of the rapist is the unadulterated word of God. The rapist must come to the place where he prays, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

Senior English Class (HOLIREM)

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