COMMENTARY: The festering culture of sexual abuse

I am filled with sadness over the path Dominica is taking. This year has had so many deaths and accidents but what troubles me the most is what seems to be the growing number of Dominica’s unheard children.

We have so many perpetrators in our midst and with a struggling economy, they are thriving by taking advantage of the country’s poverty and desperation. A culture has grown and festered here in Dominica which has become a sort of norm for many. Many are prostituting themselves to survive, some are forced to do so by their own parents, and young girls ‘dating’ older men are accepted or there’s a blinded eye turned to the developing menace.

So many cases of child sexual abuse are being brought to light this year. This is something we have always had a problem with here but it seems to be increasing by the year. The president of Dominica said in his remarks at the National Budget 2022-2023 that data obtained from the Social Welfare Division indicated a 20% increase in the number of reported cases of child abuse over the past 2 years, ranging from sexual abuse, incest, teenage pregnancy, neglect, and physical abuse.

Many people keep quiet about the situation for their own benefit but our children suffer in silence and will continue to suffer especially if we don’t attack this danger from multiple angles. Even though many cases have already been tried by our judicial system for the year, justice has not been served. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said that Dominica has the most stringent and comprehensive sexual offences act, yet it is not being used to the full extent. For example, a well-known entertainer was granted bail of $25,000 on SIX sex-related charges while a man caught with marijuana was charged $30,000 bail. A popular radio host confessed to soliciting a minor for sexual activities and yet, he is back at his job as if nothing happened. This radio station “Kairi F.M.” also broadcast a show discussing the rise of sexual abuse cases and they were completely insensitive to the victim through the disparaging remarks of some of the hosts and from many of the callers! It disgusted me so much, that I unfollowed the page and continue to encourage others to unfollow them as well.

Where do we place importance? All cases brought to the court earlier this year have either served minimal sentences or been granted bail. In little to no time, the victims will have to face their attacker. We provide no real safety for our children and these pedophiles and perverts do not take the law seriously because they know they can dodge the full extent of the law.

Honourable Raymond Blackmoore, the Minister for Justice, recently commented at a press conference that the Government would take into consideration having a sex offenders’ registry and increasing the age of sexual consent above 16 years. However, I simply believe as soon as the public outcries die down, they will forget all about it. It is because of us citizens standing up and speaking out for our children that the court and the government even came to speak about the situation. Since the public has been making their displeasure known, the court has denied bail.

As a concerned citizen myself, I suggest we continue to apply pressure! Let’s continue to speak out on all major platforms. Let’s continue to have protests and demand justice! Change will never come unless we fight for that change.

“Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation.”

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

  • Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela “Former President of South Africa and anti-apartheid revolutionary

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12 Comments

  1. Ibo France
    August 2, 2022

    Crime has been around from time immemorial. The difference though, it was nothing near this scale.

    Compare as much as you would like, the escalation of crime is at its highest level right now. No one is purporting to say that there were no crimes committed in previous times.

    You all like to distort things too much to fit your narrow and selfish agendas.

    • Ryan Voss
      August 4, 2022

      What makes you all think that in moving forward, growing as it would be said happens only in the good ? We want more of everything, thus we must also accept that more crime will come with it, we are a part of the world, we’re not isolated in some glass bubble. We take precautions, we teach our children and be open with them , we protect ourselves as best we can because if the bible is to be believed it will get worst before it gets better and no amount of hypocritical babbling is going to change that

  2. Dr Clayton Shillingford
    August 2, 2022

    Here is another collection of crimes that apparently are out of control Why so?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
    • Ryan Voss
      August 4, 2022

      Well doctor the sign of the times some would say, but it’s not through lack of proper law enforcement, you may increase the punishment for crime but that won’t stop it, the fact is things are growing steadily worst in the world not just here. Humanity has lost its compassion people no longer view life as sacred, people no longer care about each other. Is that anyone’s fault ? Some say lack of job opportunities, some say poverty but the fact is it’s lack of contentment. Humans lust and hunger for more.

  3. Juanita
    August 1, 2022

    “The soul of a child is a wonderful flower that grows in the garden of God.” When I was a primary school pupil, my principal’s mantra at morning prayers every day was, “the boys and girls of today are the men and women of tomorrow.” A country that cannot protect its children is endangered. With so many “damaged” children and young adults in a small country, the future may not be sustainable.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3
    • Lawyer
      August 2, 2022

      The result that you predicted can already be seen in Dominica. The youth and young adults of today in DA are already ‘damaged’ and the consequences can be seen by all. Or politicians, however, love it this way, because people like that are easier for them to control. Furthermore, these corrupt suits participate also in the damaging. So, they get it both ways. The question remains, will the country wake up and smell the coffee at some stage? I personally lost hope. I used to visit my country 2-3 times a year but not anymore. It’s like coming to a strange place.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1
      • Ryan Voss
        August 4, 2022

        Please please please, when will you all learn to keep politics out of everything? This is our primary problem on the commonwealth of Dominica,POLITICS. The youth are damaged ? The politicians like it that way ? Give me a break. Have seen the documentary on the youth in Brazil? A few wild cards here but Dominica is relatively calm compared to places with organized youth gangs so please just stop

    • Ryan voss
      August 4, 2022

      I agree 💯 but madam it’s better to heal than to destroy. Children are quite adaptable and move on from great sorrow and trauma with surprising ease unless some adult fills them with hate and shame. The situation here is sorrowful but it’s even worst when a child has to sit in public court and live the trauma over so if you care so much call the dpp, suggest that the victims ( children ) be made to testify via video link from the comfort of thier own homes.

  4. Ibo France
    August 1, 2022

    When good people stay silent as wrongs are committed, society sinks to its lowest ebb.

    Our children have been subjected to wanton sexual and physical abuses for the past two plus decades with impunity. It has mushroomed to a crescendo at this point. Almost everyone knows a little one who has fallen victim to this unthinkable crime.

    I throw blame on civil society that regarded this crime as a topic for jokes for too long, and made light the sexual exploits of the perpetrators.

    The harshest condemnation should be meted out to the government, law enforcement authorities and the judiciary as they stood by like disinterested spectators and allowed the problem to exacerbate.

    Only the collective and determined will of the entire country can reduce this evil to negligible levels at this moment in time.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4
    • Bobby
      August 2, 2022

      Once again, you are right on cue.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
    • SADNESS
      August 2, 2022

      Let us just say that it is all coming to light. I am in my 60ties and was molested as a child when I was 7yrs old by a family member. It has been around if you take a survey there will be many speaking up. It is way past two decades. Little girls and little boys have been molested in Dominica. Even those in leadership most dead have been involved so it is nothing new…..With television and people speaking up. Dominica should step up and start a ME TOO…. you would be shocked….. Just saying.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

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