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Break the Silence: End Child Sexual Abuse

by B. Roach

Break-the-silence-(5)As Montserrat joined the rest of the world in observing via following, a march on Thursday and a forum on Friday highlighted the Ministry of Health and Social Services, in collaboration with UNICEF, US Embassy and CARIWA. This in observance of 19 November in synergy with the anniversary of the (Universal Children’s Day) International Day for the rights of the child (20 November), which has as its objective the rallying point around the issue of child abuse and the need for urgent effective prevention programs.

The general theme that Montserrat expounded “Break the Silence: End Child (Sexual) Abuse” out of the Manifesto – Together, let us create a culture of prevention coming out of World Day for Prevention of Abuse and Violence against Children.

Child abuse, especially sexual abuse, is a universal and alarming problem and increased attention and efficient protection skills and prevention measures are necessary at family, local, national and international level.

After a long tradition of silence, sexual child abuse is being more and more denounced and becoming a public and political topic.

From the Rights of the child convention:  Art. 19 – states:

Break-the-silence-(3)Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

ART. 34 – states:

Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:

(a)   the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;

(b)   the exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;

(c)   the exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.

On Wednesday, Minister of health and social Services in an address noted the need for urgent action on this issue.

Mr. Riley notes that reports form health organizations have consistently said the Caribbean has one of the youngest ages of sexual initiation for any region in the world and secondly that the region has one of the highest rates of sexual abuse of children especially girls in the world.

He made a stern call and encouraging call to all. “Mothers I urge you to begin listening to your children believe them and investigate their claims of sexual abuse from the first complaint. Don’t wait for these complaints to fall by the wayside and become a deafening silence. Supportive mothers protect their children – they do not accept hush money or gifts in exchange for dismissing a sound case.

Break-the-Silence-Presentation--(18)Fathers, you too have a major role to play always. Remember that as a leader of the family your primary role is to protect your children – also real men do not date minors; real men do not have sex with children.”

“To the children out there listening to me,” he said. “Always remember three simple words: ‘Yell and Tell’. Yell until someone comes to your assistance – tell until someone believes you and does something about it. Do not keep any secrets for the adult who abuse you, they are not your friends.”

And to the general public, he says, “the message begins by saying that it takes a community to protect a child.”Break-the-silence-(1)

Following what the Ministry hailed as a successful march on Thursday evening, where all were called to support the Break the Silence: End Child Abuse theme, the Premier, Reuben T Meade gave a strong welcome and remarks at the forum on Friday, Nov 23, which opened at the Brades Art and Education Centre. It opened with prayers led by Bishop Dr. Melroy Meade, as he asked God’s wisdom to guide the proceedings.

The Premier in his address made against time constraints because of the two-day 58th meeting of the OECS Authority, being held at the Montserrat Cultural Centre, which began the day before. He gave a challenging call to all for support, “let us allow our children to grow up.”

“We’re asking our social partners to work with the community to ensure that there is no longer any silence in Montserrat, that there is no longer any silence throughout the Caribbean as it relates to sex child abuse, child abuse of minors.

Break-the-silence-(4)Break-the-silence-(2)In his brief address, the Premier called on the churches to preach on the issue. “Children must be given an opportunity to be children,” he said. “The churches must also not only preach to us about what Jesus did and what Paul said and so forth. We must also be talking about the concerns of our people here on earth where when we see these things happening, as ministers of religion, let us also within the church break the silence,” he continued.

The Premier noted action his government is taking on the issue. “There is something wrong with the laws of Montserrat…” he observed, continuing point out that in the new year they will move to increase the sentence in sexual abuse cases involving children.

“We will come January… have our first reading to move that sentence to something which is more reasonable. Persons who are more reasonable than I am  are suggesting fifteen years, an unreasonable person like me is suggesting life sentence, because if we are abusing children in effect we are committing murder as far as I’m concerned,” explaining further. “…because the effect on the children last them a life time and therefore men grown men must recognize that the young fruits on the tree are not yet ready for picking and they must concentrate on the older fruit that are available for picking, let us allow our children to grow up.”

Director of Social Services, Mrs. Teresina Fergus who chaired the morning’s event in remarks thanked the British Department for International Development (DFID), “for their tremendous contribution in protecting our children, by the introduction of the SCOT (Safeguarding Children in the Overseas Territories) program. She joined a youngster Aberta Benn, in reading the winning child competition poem on Child Sexual Abuse titled, ‘Enough is Enough’.

This was followed by remarks from UNICEF representative for the Eastern Caribbean Area, Miss Kim San Leewin and the Hon. Germaine Wade who read an address on behalf of Minister of Health, Colin Riley (in his absence).

See photos on our facebook page. Click here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151828432120852.1073741867.203080105851&type=1&l=b455fe13c6

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by B. Roach

Break-the-silence-(5)As Montserrat joined the rest of the world in observing via following, a march on Thursday and a forum on Friday highlighted the Ministry of Health and Social Services, in collaboration with UNICEF, US Embassy and CARIWA. This in observance of 19 November in synergy with the anniversary of the (Universal Children’s Day) International Day for the rights of the child (20 November), which has as its objective the rallying point around the issue of child abuse and the need for urgent effective prevention programs.

The general theme that Montserrat expounded “Break the Silence: End Child (Sexual) Abuse” out of the Manifesto – Together, let us create a culture of prevention coming out of World Day for Prevention of Abuse and Violence against Children.

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Child abuse, especially sexual abuse, is a universal and alarming problem and increased attention and efficient protection skills and prevention measures are necessary at family, local, national and international level.

After a long tradition of silence, sexual child abuse is being more and more denounced and becoming a public and political topic.

From the Rights of the child convention:  Art. 19 – states:

Break-the-silence-(3)Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

ART. 34 – states:

Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:

(a)   the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;

(b)   the exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;

(c)   the exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.

On Wednesday, Minister of health and social Services in an address noted the need for urgent action on this issue.

Mr. Riley notes that reports form health organizations have consistently said the Caribbean has one of the youngest ages of sexual initiation for any region in the world and secondly that the region has one of the highest rates of sexual abuse of children especially girls in the world.

He made a stern call and encouraging call to all. “Mothers I urge you to begin listening to your children believe them and investigate their claims of sexual abuse from the first complaint. Don’t wait for these complaints to fall by the wayside and become a deafening silence. Supportive mothers protect their children – they do not accept hush money or gifts in exchange for dismissing a sound case.

Break-the-Silence-Presentation--(18)Fathers, you too have a major role to play always. Remember that as a leader of the family your primary role is to protect your children – also real men do not date minors; real men do not have sex with children.”

“To the children out there listening to me,” he said. “Always remember three simple words: ‘Yell and Tell’. Yell until someone comes to your assistance – tell until someone believes you and does something about it. Do not keep any secrets for the adult who abuse you, they are not your friends.”

And to the general public, he says, “the message begins by saying that it takes a community to protect a child.”Break-the-silence-(1)

Following what the Ministry hailed as a successful march on Thursday evening, where all were called to support the Break the Silence: End Child Abuse theme, the Premier, Reuben T Meade gave a strong welcome and remarks at the forum on Friday, Nov 23, which opened at the Brades Art and Education Centre. It opened with prayers led by Bishop Dr. Melroy Meade, as he asked God’s wisdom to guide the proceedings.

The Premier in his address made against time constraints because of the two-day 58th meeting of the OECS Authority, being held at the Montserrat Cultural Centre, which began the day before. He gave a challenging call to all for support, “let us allow our children to grow up.”

“We’re asking our social partners to work with the community to ensure that there is no longer any silence in Montserrat, that there is no longer any silence throughout the Caribbean as it relates to sex child abuse, child abuse of minors.

Break-the-silence-(4)Break-the-silence-(2)In his brief address, the Premier called on the churches to preach on the issue. “Children must be given an opportunity to be children,” he said. “The churches must also not only preach to us about what Jesus did and what Paul said and so forth. We must also be talking about the concerns of our people here on earth where when we see these things happening, as ministers of religion, let us also within the church break the silence,” he continued.

The Premier noted action his government is taking on the issue. “There is something wrong with the laws of Montserrat…” he observed, continuing point out that in the new year they will move to increase the sentence in sexual abuse cases involving children.

“We will come January… have our first reading to move that sentence to something which is more reasonable. Persons who are more reasonable than I am  are suggesting fifteen years, an unreasonable person like me is suggesting life sentence, because if we are abusing children in effect we are committing murder as far as I’m concerned,” explaining further. “…because the effect on the children last them a life time and therefore men grown men must recognize that the young fruits on the tree are not yet ready for picking and they must concentrate on the older fruit that are available for picking, let us allow our children to grow up.”

Director of Social Services, Mrs. Teresina Fergus who chaired the morning’s event in remarks thanked the British Department for International Development (DFID), “for their tremendous contribution in protecting our children, by the introduction of the SCOT (Safeguarding Children in the Overseas Territories) program. She joined a youngster Aberta Benn, in reading the winning child competition poem on Child Sexual Abuse titled, ‘Enough is Enough’.

This was followed by remarks from UNICEF representative for the Eastern Caribbean Area, Miss Kim San Leewin and the Hon. Germaine Wade who read an address on behalf of Minister of Health, Colin Riley (in his absence).

See photos on our facebook page. Click here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151828432120852.1073741867.203080105851&type=1&l=b455fe13c6