Unreported cases of abuse against boys are a cause for major concern to social workers in Dominica.
According to Coordinator of the Child Abuse Prevention Unit at the Social Welfare Division, Jemma Azille-Lewis, abuse against boys goes unreported due to fear of stigma and discrimination.
She is now appealing to the public to report such cases to the authorities.
“The girls are the ones which we get to know about,” Azille-Lewis said. “This does not mean that our boys are not getting abused but because of the whole stigmatization, boys are afraid to come forward. Sometimes we speak with the young boys and even when they are being abused and you tell them the process of reporting a case, they are afraid to continue.”
She noted further that unlike girls, boys suffer a higher rate of physical abuse and neglect whereas more girls suffer sexual abuse. She did note, however, that boys also suffer sexual abuse.
“I am urging everyone to celebrate our children on International Children’s day tomorrow (Wednesday),” she said. “Denounce violence against them. Many times our children are victims of violence and abuse and no age range is immune … we want to encourage all Dominicans to support our children. We cannot do it alone at the Social Welfare Division it is impossible.”
Meanwhile, Social worker Francis Joseph said that some boys between the ages of eight to 10, who have been sexually abused by other men, had to be removed from mainstream schools since they are emotionally damaged.
“We have to protect them and this is a situation that we have to address,” he said.
Both Azille and Joseph were addressing reporters at a function geared at recognizing International Men’s Day.