Child abuse

| 19/04/2010

As April is internationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness month the discussion which the viewpoint on “Cayman’s Children and the Catholic Church” has sparked is certainly timely. Unfortunately the discussion has veered from the topic of sexual assault and rape to that of “which organizations are more/ less blameworthy” when it comes to committing these heinous crimes against the world’s children.

The outrage over sexual assault and rape of children within the Catholic Church goes beyond the mere issues of sexual assault by members of the clergy. It touches on the institutionalized facilitation of this sort of crime by what is perceived to be an ongoing lack of action to both prevent future incidents and to acknowledge/address/rectify (if such thing is even possible) current and past incidents. This, in my view, is the reason why the Catholic Church specifically has stood out globally when speaking of this particular issue.

Unfortunately this institutionalization is not limited to theCatholic Church. Rape, incest, and sexual assault of children in the Cayman Islands are the zebra-stripped parade of elephants in the room. We all say the right things and express the expected disgust when we hear about yet another incident that happened. But what do we actually do? Much like the issue of domestic violence we let sleeping dogs lie.

Where was the vehement outcry following the March 28th (2010) report by Cayman 27 that the Crown had dropped a 2008 case in which two males, ages 52 and 26, were charged with raping a 5 year old child, who was hospitalized at the time? No one should be found guilty without a trial, but the news segment offered little explanation as to why the case was dropped and to my knowledge no discussion ensued to demand further explanations.

Do not be misled: our very own “culture of silence”, to which so many references are made constantly in this forum, is the very thing which fuels and perpetuates this type of predatory behaviour. It is all pervasive and its reach goes much further than merely the church goers, Catholics or otherwise- we are all affected by it, we are all privy to it, and sadly we are all part of it. Every time we fail to stand up for what is right because the perpetrator is a (insert title here: pastor, minister of the legislative assembly, police officer, politician, power-executive, doctor, media personality, “my supervisor”, immigration officer, family member, etc) and somehow thought to be “above” us (or even the law) or have some level of “control” or “influence” over us we are not only condoning their actions but ensuring the continued existence of said behaviour.

To truly protect our children we have to break the silence.

The Family Resource Centre will be having a “7 Steps to Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse” workshop on Saturday, April 24, 9am-12noon at the Department of Counseling (3rd Floor- Flagship Building in GT). Start there.

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (21)

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  1. ThEwOrLdIsGaGaGoNeDoWn says:

    Finally! Thank you for this article! This problem has been ignored too long

  2. Anonymous says:

    Break the silence. More education on this topic. Understanding sexuality and that it has its place.

    Carolina Ferreira ‘hits the nail on the head’ with her viewpoint on Child Abuse.

    Knowledge is power and as a concerned Caymanian Mother said: kids should be armed with the knowledge they need to be on guard against molesters. 

    It is also concerning when very young girls dress like ‘women of the night’. Or has this now become ok in modern day Caymanian society?

    Be it church, school or in the family; Child Molestation begins in a person’s mind.  Thoughts and fantacies play into action.  A lot could be prevented.

    Being proactive is crucial–now!

    What is and what isn’t acceptable behaviour? Who sets the standard?   

    More research and public talks are needed on LOVE and LUST.  Discussion points could include why they’re good and evil. 

    And from a sociological perspective, what is viewed as sexual child abuse in one country–could be viewed as something acceptable by another country’s government or religion. As you know cultural norms vary from country to country.  Having said that, all children the world over should be protected from all forms of abuse.

         Please bring the "7 steps of protecting children from sexual abuse" programme to the Brac as well.  God Bless us all.  

    ————————–

    Quincy Brown. 

  3. Common Sense says:

    It is not just child abuse. Spousal abuse is so common here that it is endemic. And what starts off with the parents usually spreads to their children. Nothing like learned behaviour. The churches, through denial, inflexibility and dogma have created a rigid society that forces couples to stay together through control and fear. The consequences are obvious in a collapse of self-esteem in the women, and the long-term inability to protect the children. The results are totally predictable, and children will continue to be abused as long as this inflexibility and dogma go unchallenged.

    • Anonymous says:

      Enough with the anti-Christian propaganda. The churches offer counselling to couples who are experiencing marital difficulties. Most churches will accept divorce where there is unrelenting spousal abuse. Abused spouses often stay in an abusive marriage because of financial dependence or because the believe it is for the good of the children of the marriage amongst other reasons.   If all marriages were based and maintained on Christian principles spousal abuse would not be an issue.   

      • Common Sense says:

        You’ve got to be joking. Unless somebody is actually being beaten to death, most pastors will push people back together who are totallyunsuited. How many examples do you want? I can give you dozens. Unhappy people, unhappy children…but happy pastors who have saved yet another marriage which was doomed….Talk to any professional psychologists on this island and they will confirm that this is evident on a daily basis. 

        • Anonymous says:

          Joke!? There is nothing here to joke about. You cannot refute anything I have said. What does "totally unsuited" mean? The trouble is that many people are unwilling to work on their problems and just declare that they are incompatible because we live in a disposables culture. Most them also find that they are "incompatible" with subsequent spouses once they are divorced and re-marry.  My point remains that if partners were chosen on Christian principles (and not simply because you find them physically attractive) and marriages were maintained on Christian principles (e.g. having a spiritual foundation, praying together, no adultery, no drunkenness) none of this would happen. Besides, there is plenty of spousal abuse amongst people who do not attend church. Trying to blame pastors/the church for spousal abuse in Cayman is absurd, could only spring from a biassed mind and is certainly not "common sense".

          • Common Sense says:

             

             

            Well, well, well, we’re back to Christian principles again, are we. I am not surprised. Oh, and I have a biased mind? And yours is not?? That is a typical form of argument when you know you have already lost one – they do it well here in Cayman, obfuscate by accusing the person you disagree of something irrelevant and denigrating .

            Unfortunately, very few so-called Christians live to Christ’s code. They do whatever they want in life, and expect to be forgiven for it – usually once a week in church. Essentially, they are hypocrites. The ones who live by Christ’s code do not need to broadcast it or go on about principles…at least the ones you quote. In fact, most of the ones you talk about are a joke because they do not RESPECT the human rights of each individual. In fact, you cannot bury lack of respect and the destruction of self esteem in praying together and not having a drink.

            A good marriage is about sharing and caring. It is not about forcing together two people who do not respect each other, are not truthful to each other and who happily break your so-called principles on a regular basis so they can get what they want. However, the majority (at least 90%) of pastors in these islands haven’t got a clue about real counselling, and you have proven it yourself. If they did, then people would not make the same mistakes over and over again after they divorced. The reason they do that is because they never deal with the causes of their problems in the first place. Going through the rituals you quote doesn’t even get close to resolving such problems.

            And, yes, Mr. Mrs. or Ms Anonymous (not verified) any time you want to identify yourself, I will give you a list of names of people whose lives have been almost destroyed by inflexible and inhuman pastors who seem to think that if you divorce, you will go to hell. Excuse me??

             

            The big problem is that we have been indoctrinated to believe that love conquers all, when in fact, many of us get married without having the faintest idea of who we are. And, usually, we don’t know who our partners are either,

            • Anonymous says:

              I raised the issue of Christian principles in my first post precisely because you are blaming the church and pastors for spousal abuse. Presumably you understand that there is a connection. You show very little understanding of true Christianity or spirituality or the positive impact that this has on a marriage and home. My point (which has nothing to do with rituals which cannot redeem anyone) goes right to the heart of the problem but you are too blinded by your anti-christian sentiment to understand that. Your anti-christian tirade only serves to prove that point.  

              How exactly have I proven that 90% of the pastors don’t have a clue about counselling? The more you write the less sense you make.  

              You are too funny. You are criticising me as writing anonymously while you are writing under the tag "Common Sense" as if this is an ID badge but showing very little of it.   

              "Love conquers all". Many times the trouble is that we confuse lust with love and this the beginning of the end of a marriage. Here is what love is: 

              1  Cor. 13:4-8

              "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

               8Love never fails".

              Don’t you think this sounds like "sharing and caring"  and "respect" (and much more)? Are you beginning to get the gist of what Christian principles are all about?

              The problem is that we cannot have that love unless the Holy Spirit has entered our hearts.

              BTW you still have not addressed my point that many cases of spousal  the parties have nothing to do with pastoral counselling (or indeed any of my points). How many people do think actually attend church on a Sunday or Saturday morning? The answer is relatively few. This is why it is so senseless to try to turn this into a church/clergy issue.      

                 

              • Common Sense says:

                I agree with you. You are right. It is senseless to argue with somebody as dogmatic as yourself…so I’m not going to bother any more. Your mind is closed to anything other than your own propaganda…and that is no surprise. I am actually a believer in Christ’s principles as he practised them. I try to do follow them in my life. As I told you before, I can give you dozens of examples of pastors who screw up the lives of good human beings because they are as dogmatic as you, and have little understanding of true humanity.

                And next time you see that dude called "Holy Spirit" say hi from me and buy him a beer.

                • Anonymous says:

                  Until you have a spiritual understanding of humanity you will never get to the root of the problem, which is sin. You can counsel until the cows come home but it will make very little difference until hearts are changed. 

                  As for being dogmatic, I have laid out the reasoned basis for my views. You have not. You just keep harping on about how pastors have ruined people’s lives by encouraging them to remain married, so if we can get rid of religious doctrine we will have eliminated spousal abuse. This is patent nonsense.       

                  • Anonymous says:

                    It would seem to me that "Common Sense" argues that pastors sometimes encourage the continuation of marriages in which there are irreconcilable differences between the parties involved and this encouragement is partly due to the pastor’s inability to recognise problem areas which cannot be remedied by the continuation of said marriage.  Sometimes these problem areas lie in the individuals themselves.  A marriage such as this which spirals into volatility can manifest negative feelings through spousal abuse.

                    I do not gather, from "Common Sense’s" postings that they mean pastors are the cause of spousal abuse, nor that Christian principles are the cause. 

                    I think you might have overreacted with your responses.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Do you? Perhaps you should read Common Sense’s original post and the whole thread again: 

                      Quote: "THE CHURCHES, through denial, inflexibility and DOGMA HAVE CREATED A RIGID SOCIETY that forces couples to stay together through control and fear. The consequences are obvious in a collapse of self-esteem in the women, and the long-term inability to protect the children. The results are totally predictable, and children will CONTINUE TO BE ABUSED AS LONG AS this inflexibility and DOGMA GO UNCHALLENGED". Unquote.

                      It is gallant of you to put words in Common Sense’s ‘mouth’, and perhaps that is what he was trying to say, but that is not what the above quote says.  Quite simply it says, the church by its dogma has created the circumstances in society as a whole for spousal abuse to flourish and as along as its dogma is unchanged spousal abuse will continue. Had he been misunderstood he would surely have said so. Instead, I believe my understanding of it was confirmed by the subsequent attacks on Christians.  

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree that abuse is a big problem here.  Does anyone know what about the case where  the two men who raped the 2 year girl a year or two back?  That was a hideous crime and I have not seen that they have gone to trial.  Hope this is not another case which simply got swept under the carpet. 

     

  5. Anonymous says:

    I would encourage each and every one in the Cayman Islands to avail themselves of the "7 Steps to Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse".

    It is a must for all Dads and Moms, Grand parents and anyone that deals with children.  (That is pretty much all of us). I have personally been through the training and every one that I have talked to who has attended speaks passionately about the importance of the material covered.

    Anyone who is concerned about the health and safety of the children in Cayman needs to attend.

    Len Layman

  6. isandman says:

    Cayman is sooooooooo far behind in this area. And that’s just the way molesters/abusers like it.

    Either 2008 or 2009 there was a heineous crime where two men had driven from the eastern side of the island. They picked up another and proceeded  to the george town annex area supposedly to buy drugs. The young man they picked up was chopped viciously to death by one of these men??? Both men were charged for the murder with one claiming he was deathly scared of the other and thus said nothing and did not report this most violent crime.

    It was well known throughout Cayman that the victim was homosexual or at least bi-sexual and had had a very trouble childhood. There was some talk of the viciousness of the crime being related to his sexuality. Within a few days at most the Police issued a report (including in the newspaper) that read effectively…. "Murder not Hate Crime". The Police also said they "were still investigating". Somewhat contradictory eh!

    In another unrelated instance i was at a popular bar/restaurant one sunday evening just before our last elections in early 2009. Cayman was also getting ready to vote on our "New Constitution" then, along with the election. A long serving senior Politician was there,at the bar, with an entorage and said "as long as i’m in power them old gays will not be getting any human rights". I challenged this person and named two gay caymanians who have contributed much to Cayman and asked if they desrved less rights than any of the rest of us? The Politician biligerantly cotinued to incite and promote that gays are less than human…and thus by extention incite hate rather than practice either restraint (be quiet) or promote harmony (be inclusive…"love the sinner even if/when you do not love the sin").

    This type of ignorant attitude ties in directly with the old attitude of covering up child abuse. In fact many in Cayman would prefer to cover up all abuse. Thankfully i have witnessed some younger caymanians speaking out of these social ills. Even some of our Politicians will speak to this…albeit at the politically correct time and venue. My hope is that more of our politicians will speak of and so educate "the people" more often…even at the politially in-correct time and venue. This will of course necessitate politicians educating themselves first…and then "doing the right thing"!

    Until we as a people can talk more openly and honestly about sex, sexuality, hetero/homeo/bi sexuality, abuse, bullying and whatever seems taboo, then we will live in fear…and thus not live fully!

    Life is too short to fill with such fear… which the abuser is counting on…and thrives on.

    ps: Thanks Carolina for a well written and courageous peice.

  7. MonkeySee says:

    I am totally sickened by reading that the case was dropped–totally missed that one in the news. 

    For anyone naive enough to think its NOT happening here, talk to a teacher!!

    In the primary schools, you just have to spend a few hours with some of the students to see that they are AGGRESSIVELY hypersexual towards each other…and that type of behaviour is learned as far as I can tell, so it begs the question about what that child has gone thru @ such a young age.

    And by aggressive I mean cornering other classmates and forcing them to touch them or worse things…and worse still when its more than 1 student ganging up on another….Don’t kid yourselves–its not innocent ‘kids-being-kids’ stuff these days.

    Of course, the schools dont report on it–just like the bullying, and other criminal acts that occur on these campuses.

    There seems to be no place safe to let kids be kids…so the course thats being offered sounds interesting…..as a first step for people who don’t think its possible or that it happens here….and I hope it effects a positive change or at least makes more parents aware of the dangers lurking around many corners…

     

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great viewpoint.

    Cayman has so far to go on the entire issue of sexuality. The churches have done great damage to our country by consistently fighting against sex education in the schools over the last few decades. 

    Kids should know the basics about sex and they should be armed with the knowledge they need to be on guard against molesters. As the Catholic Church scandal has clearly shown us, Jesus does not consistently protect children.  

    I hope the workshop is a success and I encourage the organisers to keep up the good work. 

    — A concerned Caymanian mother

    • Anonymous says:

      The schools do provide a certain amount of sex education, (my child is 20 and he was taught sex education in school) however, I honestly feel that this is our responsibility as parents, not the school.  We  need to be our children’s teacher when it comes to sex, we need to build relationships with our children so that we can have ‘the sex talk’ with them.   Otherwise we leave our children possibly exposed to what others think is important, which might not be what you think is important; such as having respect for women or men.  My  son was 12 when I sat him down and had ‘the talk’ with him.  I sat him down again  at 14 (when he told me that he had a grilfriend) and I reiterated what I had told him at twelve and I reminded him of the impotance of having respect for girls; and I am thankful that I did that. He attended a boarding high school and the teachers even commented on the way he handled his friendships and relationships. Please do not wait for others to talk to your child about sex.  As a parent this is your responsibiity!!  take it seriously.

      • MonkeySee says:

        I agree 100% with it being the parents who should be the main standard setters in their children’s sexual awareness.  BUT waiting nowadays until 12 is quite often too late! 

        Many of my friends with children as young as 10 have already had introductory talks about sex….its necessary in this day and age to be proactive. 

        just make sure you are tailoring the conversations appropriately based on the child’s age and maturity –and if you don’t know, ask someone else for some guidance, take a class, read up on the topic on the net (which your child has probably already done too!) and practice speaking with him or her beforehand. 

        Oh, and lead by example…practice what YOU are preaching to your children!

        🙂

         

      • GC Ninja says:

        "The schools do provide sex education"

        You sure about that? I don’t think so. You might want to check with Weslyn and Triple C.

        Unless "don’t let Satan talk you into touching your wee-wee" qualifies as sex education.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is an ingrained cultural reality that family skeletons are best kept hidden in the closet.

    Even now you hear people saying that this or that doesn’t need to be brought up in public.

    How many people do you think will respond to this message?

    The subject scares people and the predators rely on this fear to continue their abuse.

    The 2 men released are still in the community. They didn’t go anywhere.

    The shame and negativity around this issue needs to be broken through education.