Dear Editor: I recently read your article on the rape incident which took place at the Derek Walcott Square and I am utterly disturbed.
Rape is a serious problem in our country that is continuously increasing and is one of the fastest growing crimes in Saint Lucia.
Rape is not a crime that only hurts someone for a moment but shatters their entire life. This means that most victims never fully recover from being a victim of such a devastating act.
Majority of rape victims are under the age of 18 and it is absolutely sickening that men would take advantage of them.
In my opinion, the attitudes we possess and the behavior we exemplify create an atmosphere that tolerates and downplays rape.
One prominent example concerns blaming the victim. We tend to focus on what the victim was wearing, drinking or doing and this shifts the focus away from the victimizer. This implies that individuals should censor themselves to avoid being assaulted, that somehow the victim is responsible.
Several victims cannot cope with the fact that they have been raped and resort to suicide as an escape from the shame and pain that they feel, unfortunately increasing the rates of suicide in the country.
Additionally, most rape cases are not reported because majority of the time it is more damaging to go to court as the victim than it is for the offender.
Many people love travelling to Saint Lucia, however the rape crisis here has profoundly changed the country’s image. Some of the horrendous news stories are now having a disastrous effect on the tourist trade, with potentially decreasing the overall economy of Saint Lucia. This is bad news for us as we are heavily dependent on tourism. Tourists no longer feel safe enough to come here and the few who do take extra precautions.
If we set aside our differences and challenge gender stereotypes, perhaps we can dismantle the attitudes and behaviors that continue to reinforce rape. I suggest that the police officers take immediate and proper action when rape cases are reported. Government should change the legal process of dealing with such crimes and our mentality needs to be changed when it comes to rape.
It is never to late to save our country. If we come together as one nation we can stop this epidemic once and for all. I hope that my comments will be taken into consideration and something will be done about this problem urgently.
A Concerened Citizen