by Donella Hosten
The increase in the number of reported sexual offences incidents in Grenada has led the Grenada National Organisation of Women (GNOW) to embark on yet another awareness project.
The Project, which commenced last week, is being funded by the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), and is themed “Protecting Minds and Bodies.” It is geared toward raising awareness among children and teens about sexual abuse.
Project Coordinator of GNOW, Jacqueline Lorice Pascal, said this is the second year this project is being run, and it’s geared towards empowering persons. “If we empower persons, they might be able to take positive action towards their self-agency, as it relates to gender based violence.”
Although Ms Pascal was unable to provide actual figures to show the increase over the years, she did reveal that children ages 3 and 5 were at the top of the charts as it relates to them being victims of indecent assault. “If our 3 year olds and our 5 year olds are being attacked, we would need to empower them.”
The “Protecting Minds and Bodies” Project will be rolling out in February and March 2017, in the communities of Beaton, Laura, Le Femme and Baileys Bacolet in St David.
This much needed support from the CFLI seeks to provide assistance through education on prevention and protection for children and women against gender based violence and child sexual abuse.
Also involved in this initiative are Social Work students from the T A Marryshow Community College (TAMCC).
In speaking with one of the students, Ms Cecilia Green, she mentioned some of the methods they use to engage the children, including quizzes and puzzles. Ms Green also spoke about teaching the children about the “good touch” versus the “bad touch” and who they should speak to if someone touches them inappropriately or makes them feel uncomfortable or angry. She also encouraged them to be wary of who they trust, as anyone can be a perpetrator.
According to Ms Green, this is the second year they’ve been involved in such a project, and there is a need to continue doing it for more reinforcement, since the “prevalence of domestic sexual abuse has been so on the rise in Grenada.” This, she said, has driven them to take that step in raising public awareness.
Parents and guardians are also asked to be a part of the initiatives to hopefully lead to a reduction in the number of child sexual offences in Grenada.