PHILIPSBURG:— Rotary International observes a different theme each month that fosters Community Service and promotes International Peace and Understanding. February 2019 is observed as Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution month, with this in mind the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise organized various community projects geared towards the promotion of Peace, Justice and Humanitarian Rights.
The club will be hosting a lecture/discussion session on the topic of Child Sexual Abuse. The main discussion will be on Identifying and Preventing Child Sexual Abuse (CSA).
CSA is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include engaging in sexual activities with a child (whether by asking or pressuring, or by other means), indecent exposure, child grooming, or using a child to produce child pornography. There are several reported cases on St. Maarten/St. Martin, however, unfortunately, there are many cases that have never been reported and therefore it remains ongoing. Presently minors are being sexually abused and choose to remain silent due to fear and shame.
Club President, Valda Hazel stated that there is a misconception that CSA is not common on the island that “St. Marteeners” are exempt from this form of abuse, why because “it’s not part of our culture”; but sadly the reality is that this is far from the truth and it can happen to anyone. Our goal is to bring awareness on the issue, to educate the community on what signs to look for, how to identify behaviors that indicate that a minor is being/was sexually assaulted, what to do if confronted with sexual molestation, what are the legal recourse, etc…
Slated to speak is Director of Safe Haven Foundation SXM, Ms. Cassandra Richardson. Ms. Richardson is a strong advocate for the protection of women and minors against abuse, in her position at Safe Haven she assisted several women and children, who fled from abusive homes. She believes that the existing system on our island to combat all forms of abuse needs much improvement.
Also scheduled to speak is Inspector of Police Dientje Muller; Inspector Muller is Head of the Youth and Morals Department. The Inspector will be discussing the legal framework in regards to CSA, how to lawfully respond if confronted with CSA and give her views on how we can reduce and combat this issue.
The lecture will be moderated by Ms. Brenda Maynard who was instrumental with the establishing of the organization Patrol to Eradicate Pedophilia and Child Molestation (P.E.P). The members of P.E.P will be delivering a presentation as well, P.E.P submitted a motion to Parliament in 2015 on Eradicating Pedophilia during the Youth Parliament “the Rights of the Child” meeting.
This event is scheduled for Friday, March 1, 2019, at the University of St. Martin Lecture Hall (Room 202) commencing at 6:00 pm, it is open to the general public and free of charge.
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