EDITOR, The Tribune.
I write this letter out of my frustration at the lack of an established national child sexual prevention programme in this country.
While l am not pointing any finger at any one individual, entity, government or organisation, the need for such programme is long overdue.
This fight is not only about today’s children, but the future generation.
It’s about protecting all children. It’s about safeguarding families. And building more healthier communities where all children can thrive.
We must continue the fight for justice for every Marco Archer and D’Onya “Bella” Walkers in The Bahamas. We can’t rest on our laurels.
The welfare of our children in this country is paramount. And the impact of unresolved childhood traumas, brokenness and despair is insurmountable. We need everyone on board in this fight.
Today l stand with every advocate who came before me, and stand beside those who continue to fight. I know this is a difficult topic to discuss and extremely sensitive in nature. But, if not now when?
Think about it.
How many acts of violence are we willing to accept in this country? How much carnage must we allow in our streets?
How many times must we read about neglected, exploited or missing children?
How many innocent children’s lives must be ruined by these perpetrators?
How many more heinous crimes against children must we witness before we are moved?
Or are we so hardened as a society that we can’t appreciate the cries of our children.
I am sick and tired of hearing the words “thoughts and prayers” and “rest in peace.” The temporary outcry then on to the next victim. No parent should have to bury their loved one. Similarly, no child should have to defend themselves against a sexual predator.
Child sexual abuse is preventable!
With nearly two million adults in 76 countries trained in child sexual abuse prevention and growing it is possible.
Bermuda has set the gold standard by being the first country in the world to have trained more than 20 percent of its adult population in child sexual abuse prevention. And l have experienced first-hand the impact this programme has on the local community.
Let’s face it, we are not alone in this fight against child abuse, neglect and exploitation. This is a global epidemic. However, there is absolutely no excuse to not do more to protect every child in this country. Not talking about it will not make it go away.
Not reporting child sexual abuse is not only reckless but dangerous, and a crime.
And I will not sit in stupor and embrace stupidity.
I for one will not remain silent or sit idly by and do nothing. l will continue to advocate for the rights of children and demand harsher punishment for predators.
In the past, we have always associated heinous crimes with that of other countries or cultures, and at times taken solace in the fact that such crime could never happen in The Bahamas.
Guess what? It has reached our shores, the dark secrets that we have long ignored has now taken root. And because of our failure as a society to address these social-ills, we are now faced with harsh consequences.
The boogey man that once lurked in the dark is now in plain view. The slogan “stranger danger” has now been replaced with “clever never goes”.
These predators are in our homes, schools, churches, organisations, neighbourhoods, baby-sitters, family members, friends and communities. Sadly, the victims are of all ages, sexes, races, ethnicities, and socio-economic classes.
A progressive society ought, at the very least, call out its wrongs, however ugly, especially its crimes against the most vulnerable - children.
In the words of the late Rep John Lewis, “If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have the moral obligation to do something about it.” I won’t rest, how about you?
Get trained in child sexual abuse prevention! Check out our Facebook page to learn more @Save Our Children Alliance.
Save Our Children Alliance
June 7, 2022.