Students from both the Primary and Secondary Schools in the parish of St David joined forces with the Eastern Division of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) in a march against sexual violence.
The March, which was held last Thursday began at Pomme Rose Junction and ended at the St David’s Police Station at Petite Esperance.
The protest saw students holding placards in hand and shouting chants expressing their concerns over the prevalence of sexual violence in the country, especially among minors.
Speaking to members of the media after the march last Thursday, Officer in Charge of the St David’s Police Station, Inspector Andrea Cadet said the initiative is a clarion call to perpetrators to stop sexual abuse on the island.
The march was also intended to send a message to parents to pay more attention to their children.
“We believe of course hearing it from the “horse’s mouth”, the children themselves who are affected can send a significant message to the people out there”, said Insp. Cadet.
“…So we want to break the silence and we thought starting with this initiative, incorporating the students who themselves are the victims, can be a reach to the persons we intend to send that message to,” she added.
According to the middle-rank female officer, for the year 2015/2016, there have been a number of reported cases of sexual abuse and this she said is a cause for concern.
“I want to believe that there are many factors that can be responsible for the increase in reports. People feel more comfortable coming to the police. People are more aware, regarding the law and sexual abuse and what should happen, and what should not happen.
“You find the state is doing quite a bit, amalgamated efforts between the police and other social entities, heightened awareness of the public and of course our students in particular in relation to sexual violence.
A Form Four student of St. David’s Catholic Secondary School (SDCSS), Joliba Regis delivered an address after the march and pointed out that sexual violence among young people would undeniably damage their future.
“For the first four months of this year, I was convinced that this year was a leap year. The number of incidents of sexual abuse that was reported shocked me; my heart leapt. What is even sadder, is that the number represents merely a fraction of what really goes on in this little island of ours”, Regis said.
“…When sexual abuse occurs, it is usually someone the child knows, loves, respects, which then cause confusion and serious love/hate relationship because the child is left wondering, how could someone who was supposed to love me, do this to me? What did I do wrong? Who would I believe?” she added.
The student urged young people to speak up when they believe they are being abused.
“Parents, guardians, teachers, police officers, members of the general public and children, if you disagree with child abuse, speak up, speak out and let your disagreements be known. By keeping silent, you are endangering yourselves and others… the longer the secret is kept, the longer the suffering continues,” she remarked.
This is the second march against sexual violence to be held by RGPF in recent weeks.
The first was held in St Andrew about two weeks ago.