PRESS RELEASE – What are you doing? Please don’t touch me there. Please stop. No don’t do it. No, I don’t want to, I’ve changed my mind. Please leave me alone.
Screams, Cries and Pleas, Soft Utterances. I can’t adequately explain what it feels like to have someone infringe on your right to be free and secure in your own body, I can’t explain what it feels like to know there is nothing you can to do stop what is happening, to know that nothing will erase the smell, the memory, or the feeling of what is happening.
Rape, child molestation, incest, fondling, touching, oral/anal/vaginal intercourse that isn’t wanted, leaves the victim feeling very out of control, leaves the victim wondering what they could have done differently, what they could have done to stop it, to change what happened to alter that path in their life.
Knowing that nothing that is said or done will deter the perpetrator, nothing will change their mind, leaves most victims feeling hopeless, helpless, angry, shamed.
One need only turn to any news channel to find a litany of stories from women, men and children, who have dealt with the ramifications of someone’s decision to sexually violate them.
Why did you let it happen, why didn’t you say anything, what were you wearing that short/long/barely there/full covered outfit, why did it take you so long to come forward?
From these questions it appears the victim is almost complicit in the crimes committed against them. These questions don’t help survivors; they only serve to re-victimize them, they blame them, they reiterate what their rapist told them.
The act in and of it-self leaves you feeling shameful and somehow blame worthy and these questions only serve to reinforce those feelings.
Anyone who understands the nature of sexual assaults will also know that it is very rarely about sex and more often about power. Sexual assault is never about compromising. There is rarely a chance to stop what has started occurring.
Saying no does nothing to deter one who is hell bent on committing the crime. There seems to be a lack of concern for the welfare of those who have been assaulted and I can only assume this is because there is a lack of understanding as to what sexual assault is.
Sexual Assault includes any sexual activity that one party does not agree to; rape, incest, child molestation, fondling, sexual touching, sexual activity that one person doesn’t agree to, oral, anal, vaginal intercourse that isn’t wanted by one party. Sexual acts aren’t always physical but can also be visual or verbal where an individual is forced to watch or listen to sexually perversity.
Many don’t understand that sexual assault not only damages you physically but also psychologically. The after-effects of sexual assault are lasting and more damaging when there is a lack of support. Sexual assault is more rampant on our island and through the wider Caribbean than we are willing to believe or acknowledge. I have found that with this crime many believe that if they will themselves into believing it doesn’t exist or didn’t happen that they don’t have to face it, that they don’t have to take a stance.
By ignoring what is happening you have already taken a stance, by asking that we remain silent, you have already chosen a side.
The message you are sending is that there is something to be ashamed of, that there is something to feel guilty about.
You are telling sexual perpetrators that they can get away with the crimes they are committing.
As a country we have to take a stand on issues that affect our people, our future leaders.
Sexual crimes are rampant and while the statistics show that it isn’t a great issue, it is noted that sexual crimes are one of the most underreported crimes.
I ask that we educate ourselves on this issue. That we educate our children on issues surrounding sexual assault.
They need to feel safe coming forward and confiding in a parent, teacher, police officer, etc.
They need to feel they will be protected. Survivors need to believe that they will be believed, that they will be supported and helped while dealing with what was done to them.
I ask as a nation that we stop being ignorant to what is happening in our country and the wider Caribbean.
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.
We, at PROSAF, have acknowledged that violence against women is a problem in St.Lucia and the wider Caribbean.
We are here to begin the metamorphosis that is desperately needed. We are always here to listen and if you are not ready to come forward but need a listening ear, feel free to contact us.
Remember that Sexual assault is something that happens to people, it does not define them, it is something that was done to them. Survivors, Victims, Thrivers remember you are a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman/child/man who has suffered a trauma through no fault of your own.
You are not guilty of any crime, something was done to you against your will, Sexual Assault is something that happened to you, it does not define you.
You are worthy of love and happiness. Always remember that you are not alone, that you have nothing to be ashamed of.
We are taking the baby steps necessary to make it better for all. KNOW YOU HAVE A SAFE SPACE IN PROSAF.
If you are interested in finding out more information about sexual violence and what you can do as part of this community, please feel free to contact us at:
Souyenne Dathorne, Velika Lawrence
Email: email@example.com – firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: SURVIVING SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE CARIBBEAN: https://www.facebook.com/pages/PROSAF-Surviving-Sexual-Abuse-in-the-Caribbean/165341356853908
Webpage: http://www.prosaf.org (under construction)
Telephone: 1-758-724-9991(sue) 1-758-723-6466(vel)