PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Currently Deputy Leader of the National Alliance (NA) and former Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports Silveria Jacobs, on Tuesday issued the following statement with respect to child abuse.
“I have heard and read many commentaries on the allegations of abuses against our children, and as a parent, educator and citizen I ask your indulgence to express my thoughts on the matter via this medium.
“Child abuse comes in many forms and should never be taken lightly, regardless of whom the perpetrator may be. In my twenty odd years in education I have seen and heard a lot, walked with parents and victims through the process and seen most decide against action.
“For many years many types of abuse against especially women and children has been pushed aside, hidden or not fully dealt with due to lack of sensitivity, fear of stigmatization, lack of personnel, policies and facilities or foster homes to remove the abused, and not enough professionals to assist victims and their families with the aftermath. Safe Haven must be commended for meeting this need for many years and more facilities will be needed to deal with the many unreported cases out there if our culture of silence is finally broken.
“We can only properly prepare and meet the needs we assume are out there when we know the truth and when we have accurate numbers.
“This injustice against the weak and vulnerable by predators who scar them for life can no longer be tolerated!
“Silence breeds consent, so please speak out to save your child, someone else's child, yourself or a friend from this scourge against humanity.
“Teach your child to respect him/herself and what/where the no touch zones are. Teach them that it's ok to tell, that they must tell even when the perpetrator is a family member or a trusted friend and promise always to protect and support them. Many children fear that no one will believe them, are threatened with their lives or their loved ones, or have no idea who to trust.
“St. Maarten can only deal with this problem if we know what, who and how many (victims & perps) we are dealing with.
“I speak to all types of abuses - it really does take a village of caring and loving persons to help victims through this ordeal.
“Too many cases go unsolved for lack of proof. A witness is not someone who has heard from so and so (so please stop the melee - as it hurts victims too); a witness is someone who has seen the act or experienced it (the victim); any person whom the victim tells can report the abuse.
“So if you know about it - then report it!!!!
“Stop being the victim, take away the power of all abusers, expose them - Not on FB or in the blogs - but at the Prosecutor's office or Court of Guardianship offices at the Vineyard building. Right must prevail, this is not a melee issue! Let's deal with it in a responsible manner, respecting the rights and privacy of all, especially the victims who have suffered enough,” former Minister of Education, Culture Youth & Sports Silveria Jacobs said on Tuesday.