by Tricia Simon
Slavery in Grenada has left several odd realities which we still live with today. Thus, the need to bend the tree while it is young.
This includes the fact that Grenada can be coined as a patriarchal society, yet it is the mothers, especially single mothers who are the ones left to raise our boys into men. Recently, I had an interesting discussion with a gentleman who was clearly pained by the high rates of sexual violence against minors in Grenada. Studies would show that the majority of those acts are carried out against girls and women by men and boys.
The question is how do we stop this increasing spate of female violence? Over the past few years, we see commendable programmes such as the UN Spotlight Initiative with a key mandate to protect women and children. And they do need to be protected. But is this method a reactionary method, meaning that we decide to heal after the crime occurs and the victim is scarred? Should we also look at an approach to prevent our men and boys from committing such crimes which should (a) lessen the number of victims (b) lessen the criminalisation of our black men and boys and (c) result in a more safe, cohesive and productive society?
Imagine the type of society we would have in Grenada if from the age of 4 a boy is taught to respect his elders and females. We would be raising a generation of conscious and respectful individuals to “do no harm”. The results would be tremendous as we can expect a decrease in sexually related crimes against our girls and women.
Lest we forget our adult men who too have their issues and may view a young child as a sexual object or a woman as a less valuable being, thus to be abused and treated as they see fit. Community programmes can be geared towards teaching and providing our men and boys with assistance to address their challenges.
Far too often when a heinous sexual crime occurs, Grenada shares it on social media for a few days, the activists come out, march and shout from the hilltops, then like church mouse they grow quiet. Yes, awareness is brought to the subject but we now need to follow up with concrete action. Centres need to be created in communities to address such programmes where individuals can feel a sense of belonging and safe enough to seek assistance.
Professionals under this programme need to provide assistance, especially to the needy and vulnerable. Grenada needs a comprehensive volunteer database in regards to social programmes. Counselling services are now remote, thus a Grenadian therapist in New York can take on one patient at a time (we doh asking for much, as we doh greedy) and work with this individual. They would fall under an umbrella programme managed by the Ministry of Social Services with collaboration from the Ministry of Education and the Office of Diaspora Affairs. Similar to the US Peace Corps who travel to different countries and offer various services to assist the locals. This programme has been a success for generations. Feel free to visit Grenada at any time to enjoy Grand Anse Beach but we know you would be working remotely since we know you have a busy practice in your respective place of residence.
This is giving back to Grenada, as a sociologist, therapist, psychologist and doctor ban together and offer your services to your respective community of origin. Programs can include counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol and substance abuse, gambling addiction, depression, child abuse, sexual abuse, mental health issues, parenting class and a host of other programmes. These are challenges faced by our youths and for a progressive, prosperous nation we need to provide them with the necessary tools to make progress for national development. The reality is that as professionals we cannot simply sit back and think that the ills in Grenada do not affect us, it affects all of us who are in some way related to Grenada.
There are many hardworking and earnest therapists in Grenada who are all to be commended, but the reality is that they are not able to address the volume of individuals who need assistance. Grenada lacks the funds as well as the number of trained skilled individuals to address the breath of social ills faced in the nation – no country has the capacity to address all its ills. America has its opioid and homelessness challenges despite having immense resources yet it still struggles with those issues, much less jukutu Grenada. Many hands make for light work – so to heal the nation let us work together as one.
Tricia Simon is an Attorney-at-Law called to the bar in the State of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and the Province of Ontario, Canada.