Children are a country’s valuable resource. When will Guyana tackle the scourge— Rape?
The issue of rape has reared its ugly head again (Kaieteur News, July 13, 2018), especially as it pertains to females who have not even attained tweenhood.
It is blatantly apparent, even to the severely myopic, that sexual perversion, enmeshed with unchecked lunacy, is running rampant in Guyana. There are some issues that just cannot be swept under the rug, and others, once swept under, are soon rejected. Sexual Assault Awareness Month was celebrated in April, and Guyana joined with several other countries to celebrate under the theme “Embrace your Voice.” The teal ribbon was adopted as a symbol of sexual assault awareness and prevention.
What is being done about the children? What plans are being put in place to further strengthen existing ones to stem this scourge? The facts are known! Can the government not see that rape is destroying the country? The director of the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) Ann Greene, in an interview conducted in October 2017, stated that within the first six months of 2017, 424 cases of sexual abuse were reported and addressed by her Agency. The director also announced plans for a registry of sex offenders, especially since such a call was made in 2015 by The Caribbean Voice.
Sexual assault of these young victims impacts not only the victims, but also family, as well as society as a whole. The potential consequences can span generations with adverse effects on health, education, employment and the economic well-being of families, communities and societies. While prosecution and incarceration of sexual offenders may provide a sense of relief and perhaps some deterrence, such is not enough.
Viewed from a public health perspective, the government must institute measures aimed at stopping sexual assault and sexual abuse from occurring in the first place, rather than reacting after the young resources and future leaders have been violated and harmed. The scourge of rape is hindering the country’s potential.
After serving their prison sentences, the perpetrators will be free to walk the streets? Would that be the end? What programme (if any) has been put in place to ensure that they will never reoffend? Is therapy a programme of choice? Is there data to show how we have dealt with the perpetrators of rape, and the level of recidivism? What about the hapless young victims with their tainted futures?
The reports of continuance prevail with the perpetrators becoming older and bolder, seemingly undeterred by the punishments meted out. From the stance of a concerned Guyanese and health professional I am calling on the Government, the legal system, Child Protective agencies, community leaders, educators, parents, church and clergy to come together and work towards planning/ introducing/ implementing approaches targeted specifically towards stemming this rising tide of abuse of our children. First in line for consideration is the development of a Sex Offender’s Registry, followed by an in-depth study as to the factors underlying the rising male sexual fascination with babes, tots and toddlers. Make no mistake the future of Guyana is at stake.