Sexual Assault Is No Laughing Matter
The Silver Lining Foundation pleads for sensitization training and a special victims unit among an insensitive police service in order to effectively deal with the increasing number of sexual assaults cases, and regain the faith of Trinidad & Tobago’s youth.
Recent report from CNC3 news showed a young man who has lost faith in an insensitive police service after he desperately reported being sexually assaulted many times by a known male drug pusher in his area, only to be laughed at and humiliated.
This month being the month of April serves for us a dual role, breaking the silence against child sexual abuse and breaking the silence against bullying. It is especially important for us to speak out, condemning these two growing issues which plague our nation. There is a need for the police service and its victim and witness support unit to become more responsive and sensitive to these cases of sexual assault, especially where it concerns young male victims who are subjected to indifference and humiliation.
There is a dire need to implement a shift in response from the general police service to a department or unit to have trained and sensitized officers to deal specifically with sexual assault cases and there after math, catering towards to victim. There also needs to be an inclusion of a SANE/ SART model into the Police and Health services to efficiently treat with these cases. Recall the latest report that in Central Trinidad alone, there have been over 200 cases of sexual assaults that have been reported. These kinds of shocking statistics should serve to move all citizens to take preventative measures in education, and also to move those responsible for dealing with these cases to find ways to impede this escalating situation in a more effective and compassionate manner.
The case above speaks volumes of issues among youth and children’s rights. When reported his victimization, the young man was laughed off by police members, no doubt this response arose because of the nature of the crime and the perpetrator and victim being of the same sex. The change has to happen here first, then twofold. There must be a complete paradigm shift on how law- enforcement deals with sex crimes and special victims, more- so when the victims happen to be of the same sex, like in the above case. Without equal opportunity, without sensitivity training, without proper apparatus such as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners/ Sexual Assault Response Teams, Trinidad and Tobago is heading nowhere fast.