Letters & Opinion, Sounding Off

Save Our Girls

Image of Rochelle Gonzales

YOU would think that two months before the end of 2016, our justice system would have been making some noticeable strides, or any kind of movement at all towards solving the many problems plaguing women and children in St. Lucia.

I can imagine that the government has its fair share of responsibilities in need of attention, and I KNOW that the Human Services and Gender Relations Department are drowning under the mountain of work and cases that they need to take care of: however, all I hear on these matters are crickets and echoes.

There is a misconception that there is more crime against women and children now than there was decades ago. Although I don’t have the statistics to prove it, I would like to beg to differ, and instead, state that there was more going on back then than now, but it’s just that the cases are now being reported as opposed to being swept under that carpet for a few hundred dollars.

That’s not to say that the sweeping is not done anymore…in fact, it’s still rife and perhaps an even bigger issue, as we are in the age of technology where everything is broadcast for the world to see, and people opt to keep things hushed in a bid to hold on to dignity and family pride.

Nonetheless, more cases are being reported, yet seemingly, none of them are being solved or brought to justice.

There is a time and place for everything…there is a time to keep your head down and get on with your work regardless of what the world has to say, and there is a time to appease the noisy crowds, if only to give off a sense of progress.

I strongly believe that now is the time for these departments in question to come out and highlight the work that they are doing…tell us what you are doing with our money…we are desperate to find out!

We want to know your success stories, we want statistics, we want to know your strong points and shortfalls and we want to know your methods.

To be honest, you know that feeling where you have something in your head, but it’s only when you say it out loud that you hear how ridiculous it is. Well I believe that the same is possible with these departments in question, because I seriously believe that if they were to hold a conference of some sort, they would realise just how badly they are underperforming…some people might actually learn a thing or two about their jobs for the first time.

When we in the media keep having to tell the public about another little girl who has been raped, about another pre-teen who is pregnant, about runaway teenagers who already have three children in tow and about 17 year olds having babies whilst incarcerated at Bordelais…it gets daunting and frustrating.

I want to hear that as a result of thorough investigations and a proper judiciary system, that the Paedophiles responsible for harming these children are thrown behind bars and have the keys tossed in the ocean somewhere.

Why is it that in this day and age, we are no closer to minimising (I’m reasonable) issues such as rape, incest and all other kinds of abuse?

Why are taxpayers paying so much money for ministries and homes to pay their staff members’ hefty salaries and ignore their duties of protecting, sheltering and rehabilitating those at risk?

Why aren’t there proper facilities designated SOLELY for the proper counselling and rehabilitation of children, young girls and women who have been victims of these kinds of abuse as opposed to keeping them in a mixed home where their trauma is not addressed and they go off to live damaged/broken lives and unwittingly affect the lives of all those they are part of (including and especially their children)

Why aren’t there special programmes for perpetrators of sexual crimes where they can receive the appropriate rehabilitation to reduce the risks of sexual abuse?

Why aren’t there stiffer penalties for people who cover up for these perpetrators and even accept bribes from them?

Why are there so many questions and so few answers and solutions?

Who is to blame for this? I hate the blame game with a passion but whilst I believe that everyone in society has their share of blame to bear for such societal woes, I also believe that some people upstairs dropped a massive ball and they have made a mess…a mess that is so bad that the origins can no longer be pinpointed and it is now catastrophic.

Sadly, I believe that politics will pop its head into the mix, and instead of getting down to the problem at hand, persons will spend more time beating their chests and making grand statements to show that they are in charge.

As a result of this, like a donkey chasing a carrot on a string, there will be no result and our children will continue to suffer.

I am no expert and I will not pretend to know the way forward but I have ears and eyes, and I can see that whilst the people with the power to take care of these issues have their heads in the clouds (for want of better words) whilst trying to figure out whose move it is next, I can see that the stagnant snail’s pace in which progress on these issues is being made.

It’s a crying shame that this is our current state in 2016. I said it a few times already and I will say it again, it’s 2016…we need to hurry up and step up!!!

Rochelle entered the Media fraternity in May 2011 as a fresh-faced young woman with a passion for the English language, a thirst for worldly knowledge and a longing to inform the world of what was happening around them, whether it was good or bad.

She began as part of a small news team at Choice Television, which falls under the MediaZone umbrella. She was hired as one of the original members of the newly created Choice News Now team...Read full bio...


1 Comment

  1. Rochelle i love your work. I admire the fact that you are a voice for the voiceless. I believe for every child who suffers any kind of abuse, we are all partly responsible. Speaking up is all of our responsibility.The act of abuse, whether physical, sexual or emotional leaves a child completely traumatized. However; it is the ‘Silence’ about it all that destroys the core of the victim.

    Wake up St.Lucia! Speak up!

    A survivor cannot be silenced.?

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