Zandoli International Foundation statement follows:
Today we at Zandoli are truly saddened by the unwarranted and baseless allegations made against our organization by one Rohan 'Roaks' St. Marthe. It is fitting to note that Mr. Rohan St. Marthe was a member of Zandoli for a short period of time from July 18th-25th., 2014.
Because of medical issues, which Mr. St. Marthe had published publicly online, he ceased to function in his capacity as a member of Zandoli. He had been offered the position of Director of Public Relations as we felt his participation would benefit the organization. Although members are required to pay an annual US$30 membership fee Mr. St. Marthe had not paid his dues up to the time of his illness. In fact at our telephone conference of directors Camille St. Omer appraised all in attendance of his condition and urged that he (Mr. St. Marthe) be kept in our prayers. See Zandoli blog post dated July 25, 2014 here. Nevertheless, Zandoli and Mr. St. Marthe parted on good terms and maintained occasional contact since then. It is of importance to note that the functions of Public Relations Director were assigned to an intern in the name of Tanisha Jn. Baptiste who was working on her Master's degree.
It is also important to note that Zandoli International Foundation is a duly registered non-profit corporation #0400674199 in the state of New Jersey in the United States on July 18, 2014. Certification # 132932897.
During the course of the past few days there has been an increasing number of deliberately false accusations made against Zandoli International Foundation by Mr. St. Marthe regarding our operations and agenda. It has all come to a precipitous head in the early hours of this morning when Mr. Rohan St. Marthe posted a tirade of baseless aspersions on the Facebook page of SLAP (an organization where he is the founder/administrator, and also on his personal Facebook page under his name as Rohan Roaks. On both pages he posted as Rohan Roaks. These posts were made at 1:05 am EDT today on his wall, and eleven minutes later, at 1:16 am EDT today, on SLAP's wall.
We at Zandoli find it necessary to clear the air on these baseless and malicious accusations by Mr. St. Marthe as we have worked diligently in the interest of victims of sexual abuse, rape, and particularly child molestation in St. Lucia since the inception of our organization.
As a result of these slanderous statements which call into question the integrity and character of the members of Zandoli we find it necessary to address these callous statements made by Mr. Rohan St. Marthe:
"Please be warned that there's organization called zandoli which is not a reputable organization"
How are we not reputable?
"This organization claims to have been endorsed by the Government of Saint Lucia and the EU but we've found out that this is not true and asked that persons do not enter into any business transactions with them."
When and where did we ever make these statements of endorsement by the Government of Saint Lucia and the EU and who is the 'we' to whom you refer? Any interaction Zandoli has with anyone is in the interest of assistance for underprivileged persons in Saint Lucia and also as part of our campaign against sexual abuse.
"As much as possible do not give any monies to this organization."
Any monies, supplies, or any other assistance donated to Zandoli is received for the benefit of the underprivileged and sexually abused persons in Saint Lucia.
"We've found out that this organization is well connected to a political party on Saint Lucia, in their quest to remove the present administration they went out of their way to embarrass a minister of government for something he had no knowledge of and then claimed to do it in the interest of child molesters."
Which political party is Zandoli supposedly connected to in Saint Lucia? And how have we tried to remove the current administration? The minister's name was mentioned as a matter of fact, and we expect, just as with any other reasonable person, that the minister would have been embarrassed by the sexual abuse conviction of his brother, whether it was publicized or not. Zandoli wants to state, categorically, that we have never done anything in the interest of child molesters. EVERYTHING we do is against the interests of child molesters and in the interest of the VICTIMS!
"While child abuse continues to be a serious problem around the world we asked that persons should distance themselves from that organization."
What justification do you have for demanding such actionagainst Zandoli?
ZandoliInternational Foundation is very well aware that the prevalence of sexual abuse, particularly rape and child molestation is a very real problem in Saint Lucia and that the solution will not come from only one organization. For this very reason we have sought to partner and collaborate with a number of organizations in Saint Lucia and join hands to eradicate, as best we can, this despicable scourge which infests our beautiful island.
We continue to recognize the significant input of organizations such as CAFRA, RISE, PROSAF, churches, and other groups and individuals in this fight. Together we can make a significant stride forward.
Zandoli takes this opportunity to again, vigorously, forcefully, and in the strongest terms refute all allegations made by Mr. Rohan 'Roaks' St. Marthe. We refuse to be sidelined as the work which we have begun is too critical at this point. We further refuse to be maligned or intimidated by Mr. Rohan Roaks.
Wasted time dealing with this issue is time lost in making a meaningful change. If we are to ask victims of sexual crimes to not be intimidated by their abusers then we cannot bow down and capitulate to this calculated attack on our organization. It would set a bad example for the victims.
It is with great relief we notice the posts on Mr. St. Marthe and SLAP's walls have been taken down.
Post removed from SLAP at 10:25 am EDT and at 11:00 am EDT from Mr. St. Marthe's wall; ten hours after they were exposed to the world.
We can only assume that Mr. St. Marthe saw the folly of his actions.
As we had stated last year, "We wish Mr. St. Marthe all the best and our prayers are with him."
Zandoli takes this opportunity to call on all good Saint Lucians to join in this fight against child molestation, rape, and all other sexual abuse in Saint Lucia.
As our great national anthem says in its final lines:
Last week's story on child molestation and sexual abuse in St. Lucia exposed the dirty underbelly of what many have considered a pervasive problem back home. It transcends all socioeconomic boundaries and has the same terrible psychological effects on those who are subjected to its nastiness and resultant mental anguish.
Many victims suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) which was associated with military personnel who have been exposed to the ravages of war. In the earlier part of the twentieth century, after World War I, this was referred to as shell shock.
I knew this was an important topic to cover yet I was shocked by the almost instant messages I received from total strangers regarding their own experiences at the hands of child molesters. These were grown women who had endured the violation on the bodies by family and friends. They have lived with the mental turmoil, shame, fear, nightmares, confusion, lack of trust, along with a host of other symptoms associated with their terrible experiences.
We have heard these anecdotal stories of child molestation for many years indirectly. Maybe it was recounted to us from a friend of a friend, or by our parents and grandparents, but by and large we never heard from the victims. Our recollection of these acts have always been third party accounts.
With the permission of the victims who contacted me during the course of the past week I will post some of their stories the of sexual abuse they suffered. Some of the contents have been edited for clarity, and in some I have left it raw and unedited. No names will be mentioned and locations, if any, have been generalized.
Hi I do have a story and would not like my name used. I was abused by my
two cousins the first time was at the tender age of seven I cannot
remember the first time all I remember is the blood
that was on my panty. But I can recall the other times just not the
first time. I was being sexually abused at night. I use to be afraid to
sleep cause the monster cousin would come to use and abuse me. I was
helpless, my mom was not living in st.lucia at the time. He would play
with my Virginia with his fingers and he would stroke his pennis all
around my Virginia up and down I had no idea why he was doing that to me
but it happened all the time. One day I told my female cousin what he
was doing to me she spoke to my aunty and grandma about it but nothing
He went on and on and on until i was 12 years old. Up to now
nothing happened. They were like 15 to 20 years older than me. My mother cries up to now
about what has happened but she did not go to the police. She has
confronted them but up to now they have not said sorry and yes this has had a
huge impact on my life. I did not care about school I am paranoid when
it comes to my kids, and in relationships I cannot show affection. I don't
know why but it has been a problem for me. I also cannot ask my
boyfriend for sex I don't know how and I also have a hard time believing
a man loves me for me I think it's all about sex. I am all grown up now
but this remains. I see a therapist once every week. I am a grown woman
now but i still don't think and behave my age it's like am still a child because my innocence was taken away from me and this is part of my
scars. I just wish this would stop. I don't wish this on my
worst enemy. I believe if their names are exposed it will cool down.
have publicly shared some of my experiences and what troubles me is
still seeing these ppl walk the streets. My incidents happened with a
doctor, a friend of a teacher, a man who said he was a scouting models,
and other incidents.
Imagine being a 15yr old secondary student, my mom
went away, my dad stops giving me money for school because I have a
"boyfriend" Even if I am not sexually active...and I seek
help from a friend of a teacher who frequents the school. This man helps
me out financially and still being a bit naive, I never expected one
day he would take me to his house to collect a typewriter he was
sorting out for me, that he would tell me to relax and put his mouth
on me..... In my mind, it is not normal but I didn't even know what
oral sex was at the time... Fast forward 12 yrs later, I shared this
with my mom who had been absent and an older sister who expressed that
they too had been victims of sexual assault before they were even 10 yrs
old.... SIGH!!!! This is just one of my experiences. I will share the story about the doctor some other time.
You are a blessing in disguise to many ppl who want to keep quiet. The more I talk about it....the lighter I feel.
The abuse began when I was 8 or 9 and went on for a few years. My stepfather was the abuser. He would come into my room late at night and stand in the shadows looking at me. I would pretend that I was sleeping. He would place his hands between my legs and I would squirm on the bed. Anytime I moved he would step back in the darkness and wait. I guess he was waiting for me to doze off again. This went on many times over these years. Over time he went further and further. I remember waking up one night to an intense pain between my legs. I had been sound asleep and did not know he was in the room that night. I pushed down with my hands to get whatever it was away from me. I realized that he was laying on top of me resting on his hands. When I pushed I felt something down there. This is the first time I realized that a man's thing could get hard. I ran into the bathroom and locked the door. He used to be extra nice to me all that time and I was confused whether I should tell on him or protect the person who was being nice to me. I now have a child and it is very difficult for me to trust anyone around my child because I know what happened to me. I have lost faith in everyone because all I see is that the person who was supposed to protect me is the one who took my innocence. I hate what was done to me. I have been to therapy. I have anxiety attacks. I cannot trust. I sometimes have to take drugs. Parents need to watch their kids close when anyone is around them. ********************************************************
*Name withheld* Current age 37
I was 8 yrs when i raped not by a stranger, but an
acquaintance . I've been waiting to heal for the pass 29 years and no I am
not healed ... to make it worse the law did nothing to the guy. I had to
live and see this man in my face every day and sometimes he called me by
my name when I was passing ... some of our St Lucian ppl love judging the
victims its time this nonsense stop... I had nightmares getting up at
night.. My mom tried her best until one day she try taking the law in
her own hands .. Keep the good words alive there are many ppl like myself
up to day who still too afraid to speak out about their encounter.
I saw the places...I smell scents, and yes, I felt yr words. Am writing about my experiences to
bring awareness. My poem "For No Reason" tells my story.
FOR NO REASON
This poem is written for all those who have been through sexual
abuse, including myself. I have recuperated very well. I am now in my
late forties and my aim is to bring healing to my immediate family and
friends who have been hurt by these sexual predators. A new dawn have
arrived-the listening ears of those who care are here to help, you are
Yesterday, while on an errand I stole some time to play
I didn’t think of time and space, I only wanted the day
I skipped over wild flowers, small rocks, even dodged wild dogs
Paused for moments to watch hogs digging
To find a way through the murkiness of logs
I greeted the neighbor, and was summoned inside
Never occurred that I was sentence to be chide
The fat old man’s shadow covered the wall
Creating a blanket for my great fall
There he was sitting in his chair
‘Chile come over here’
And with no hesitation held me forever
As my blood dripped upon his massive finger
Shock and in pain, fear flooded my spine
Who can I tell of this ordeal of mine?
For no reason I couldn’t tell father nor mother
I dried my tears and promised to stay away from
the monster upstairs
I heard no whisper
Only quiet and silence
And when I wish that the anguish would wash away
With every hurricane or flood lifting it from the quay
Another greeted me with charm;
No sense to alarm
All the while scrutinizing my ripe age;
My innocence now trapped in a cage
Every other night while mama worked hard
My dearest gently spread my legs out wide
Pierced me with his sword, then gave me candy for my reward
He kept on drawing from a cistern that didn’t belong to him
I became the song of grim
No good hymn could soothe my soul
As the heavy breathe of alcohol streamed down my neck
Dead to the smoke which blinded my perception:
‘Mama didn’t care’
And from deep within the whisper came, ‘don’t cry’
Tears forming the first creases on the corner of my eyes
Where are you God of whom mama speaks about
Yet, I have not abandon you my Lord
Maybe you have a cause for what I can’t describe
‘Cause for no reason the sun still shone on me every morning
And if there was no sun; the moon guided me
Out of the ‘valley of Baca’
Out of a name that doesn’t belong to me
O, how I wished that the angels took me to be cleanse
In pure waters, ever flowing waters,
To wash away the guilt which stained me for no reason
Today the trees didn’t move, the grass didn’t sway,
The clouds stood still
I wanted to die, for another came by
Was there a spell cast on me?
Was there an attachment to the imps, the devils which ravished
The young who cries daily for a savior?
‘Don’t cry’, the whisper said
And the tears flooded the corner of my eyes
The darkness seemed endless, when will light come.
Yet the more I longed for the light; darkness approached with its
Peeping Toms-timing and watching my every move-
Like outlaws, fugitives, they cast shadows behind back doors
Longing to touch; measuring, drooling, and in the madness of their minds
Locked me within
Then for no reason the anger for getting no answers
For my sexual mishaps drew me to conclude:
That the sons of my mother’s womb might not be brothers after all
Uncles whom I should have embraced are devils in disguise
Or fathers of any kind pasting floors,
while lusting, sweating for their kin
The constant hitting of my ankles against the small rocks
My thoughts couldn’t keep up with my steps
So I started running: running from their grips
Running from under their dark clouds
Ah love, my questions are endless
I see whom my soul loves
‘Don’t cry’, the whisper said
For no reason I was taken away
To heal my self of the deep hidden concoction of their sexual exploitations
And from beyond I have seen that they can no longer hide
Behind the veil of deception
Ah, thoughtless, never saw tomorrow coming
How blind to have planted seeds of your corruption,
But I killed your corrupt trees before they produced
I spoke life to my womb, I spoke life to my mind
I ask Him who is ever merciful, to have mercy on your soul
Then I rest my last question, ‘why such excruciating pain?’
Why my love?
Again, the whisper came
In my silence
I heard the voice of whom my soul loves.
I answered the call with much difficulties,
Without understanding the path laid out for me,
I simply trust.
I trust the Master’s plan
To take me to the promise of my deliberation.
I do not force myself to remember my past,
For it follows me like a shadow
Coming and going as it pleases.
Staying longer when the sun shines
In every crevice of my being
Measuring against my present
Stalking everywhere I set foot.
Then a stillness steps in
To rid the shadow monstrous in nature
Too stubborn to let loose of its hoovering
Sometimes, I hide.
Not a hiding of a coward; but one who waits
Till the calamities be overpass
Sometimes, I face it with a force.
A force, a strength, which is completely supernatural–
Connecting me with the Source.
Thanks for the courage to write. To help our people who have kept quiet for too long!
This is my story. I didn't have the best growing up. I
remember being fondled from as early as 7 by a neighbour who tell me
it was a game, a secret game back them it was taboo....my mother was always drunk. She would come home with different men to
drink and to entertain her clients. They would then pick on me fingering away
as I lay next to them on the floor... The woman next day couldn't even
remember if she had a Jim or Jack at home...she then dumped me at my siblings home
where they lived with their father and other family members....I now
had a bigger target on my back. My sister's father used cocaine and he would
get high and wake up early in the morning to play with his new toy. What
puzzled me at the time was that he also had a 12 yr old niece living with them. When I told her she said don't worry. I would assume she was also his
First the fondling then he took it a step further tried penetrating me
at nine years. I can still remember the morning he tried penetrating me I couldn't even pee cus I was really sore. After weeks of this I confided in
my father's wife who had my father pick me up...
My mother instead of
doing the right thing beat me with tamarind weep [sic] saying I'm wicked and that I
don't like the man. Even kicking me in her drunken rage...I was saved by
my father but the abuse has already done all the damage cus sex was my
new hobbie [sic]
I started rebelling until I ran away....went to good school cus
the abuse never affected me academically ...finally on my
way home one day I was pulled into a vehicle. Guess what, I was raped and got
pregnant that same day...I've been used to the abuse. I just went home and was afraid of meeting the rapist again since he was a well known bad
I don't talk about this thing. I try to just fight all my demons. And u kno how the story goes. Sex my new drug, the downfall of my relationships. And the monkey on my back. Always feeling for that sadistic. Craving the pain.
I use sex for revenge. I bite and scratch remembering what was done to me as a child.
I'm damaged to the last degree. It give me some sick satisfaction. That was the first real pain I ever experienced. U wouldn't understand. The more sadistic the sex the more I enjoy. The beating the biting. I just get a high from the abuse.
U think I'm normal?
I still see my sister's father, his nephew, and my long time neighbour walking in town. They all raped me.
What can we learn from these stories? What are the signs and symptoms of a sexually abused child? There seems to be a very common thread in most of these child molestation stories when it come to the ages of the children. For some reason these child molesters seem to like children around the age of 8 years. This is when the grooming and molestation begins to occur. What is it about that age?
Please view this music video by JSON called "SECRETS" which I consider to be one of the most powerful messages for shedding light on the torment and anguish that too many face on a daily basis in the aftermath of child molestation and sexual abuse. This story can be applied to almost every victim. Listen to the words carefully as they are very revealing.
(View in full screen for best effect)
Please see these other videos which can help us all understand what victims feel and the signs to look for in our children, and most importantly the red flags which can alert us to the predators waiting to pounce.
few weeks ago news reports told the story of a prominent businessman
who had been arrested for incest with his daughter. Committing this most
despicable of acts daddy-loose-draws remains unnamed because of
provisions in the law which dictate that both the victim and alleged
perpetrator remain anonymous until a verdict is reached in the case.
Don't worry, St. Lucia is a small place and we all know the salop! This
jolted my mind to recall the intention which I have had for a very long
time to write on a serious malaise which is very prevalent in St. Lucian
society. In fact this has gone beyond simply a malaise and has attained
More than twenty years ago in St.
Lucia I was friends with a rather attractive young lady who had been
seeking employment in Castries. She recounted to me one day about an
interview which she had a few hours earlier. It was at a business place
in the vicinity of Vigie Airport/La Clery/Vide Bouteille. Going through
the usual interview motions and cheerful banter with the boss made her
feel confident that this job was almost hers. Towards the end he
suggested that she return after 5 PM so that he would be less distracted
with the responsibilities of work, and be able to confirm that she was
indeed able to perform her duties if she was indeed hired. Feeling
elated about this rather promising prospect she agreed to return.
was promptly 5 PM when she was called into his office and the door
closed behind her. After a few phone calls he directed his attention to
my aptly bosomed friend and was down to business in next to no time with
suggestive comments about her looks and then asked her to take a ride
with him. He indicated that they could go have some drinks and then take
a drive down to the Vigie quarry (the abandoned quarry near the Vigie
airport hangar). Well my friend was having none of that bulshittery; she
told him where to stuff his drinks and what to do with himself in the
This businessman has been well known, in fact
notorious, for preying on women in search of employment. If there were a
Nobel prize for sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour he would
have received it.
Many of our St. Lucian women have
endured this same type of harassment in seeking employment, and
lamentably some have fallen victim to these sexual advances because of
their financial situations. Having secured jobs under this duress they
are now continually pressured to have sexual relations with the boss or
supervisor in order to retain their employment. Eventually this
situation becomes untenable resulting in frustration and anger about
The reactions, when confronted with
such advances, can be varied and evokes different emotions. Some women
may walk out of the interview, others may be numbed with surprise, and
others will let the offender have a piece of their sharp tongue. And
then of course there are those who may just lay down on the office table
and spread it or go for drinks and that ride to the Vigie quarry. Lets
not be naive here, there are some women who will enjoy the temporary
power of being with the boss because they may receive preferential
treatment and have certain 'perks' on the job. Sometimes the wanton
fraternizing with female staff is well known on the job and usually
degenerates into an all out conflict for the affections of the boss or
Then there are those who decide to just close
their eyes and do it one time, just to get in. Unfortunately the
unscrupulous boss sees this as another conquest to be had at his whims
and fancies. Eventually this woman decides to cut off the sexual
encounters with her boss because she may feel guilty, have a new
boyfriend, or just decide that she no longer wants to continue having
sexual relations. This is when the retaliation begins. Persons who no
longer want to 'pass-it' are victimized, given menial tasks, or fired.
the preview to my Sunday topic last Wednesday I was bombarded, within
minutes, with private comments from persons anxious to share personal
experiences. They mentioned names , businesses. Surprisingly an
overwhelming number of complaints mentioned government departments. It
seems there are some notorious senior civil servants known by all and
sundry. My information is that many complaints have been lodged against a
particular individual...all for naught. Could it be that it's just
another old boys' club and complaints to the higher ups are squashed
because they are all in it together. Would the lack of action equate to
the sexual abuse cover ups which went on for more than one hundred years
in the Catholic church?
Within five minutes of posting here is what someone commented:
your topic...........this is prevalent at my work place where the head
man is concerned......the young women who have just left school and
come to (**government department**) are targeted by the
sicko.....especially those who have financial difficulty......making
all kinds of suggestive remarks, promises, asking for phone numbers and
requests to meet after work.........the young people are afraid to
come forward and he continues and just denies..........sometimes I wish
it was a relative for me to tumble down in his ass this shit
upsets me. The worse part is that reports have been made to people
higher than him and I guess nothing can be done without hard evidence.
The thing is everyone in the department is aware...........and no one is
Here is what someone else commented:
have lost a lot of respect for a number of people that are involved in
the cover up, of not just that, but corruption too. People we all grew up
having the utmost respect for.
This is just
the tip of the iceberg as these stories have been recounted over the
years many times, but what does one do about being faced with a
situation like this? Where is a report made after such pressures and
brought to bear? What penalties do the perpetrators face?
I contacted Flavia Cherry of the Caribbean Feminists Research and Action (CAFRA) about my story and this is what she said:
Saint Lucia sexual harassment is a criminal offence. It is also
recognized as unlawful discrimination. The laws governing sexual
harassment are the Criminal Code and the Equality of Opportunity and
Treatment in Employment and Occupation Act .
Protection under the Criminal Code Chap 3:01
harassment is a criminal offence which carries a penalty of
imprisonment for one year. The relevant section in the Criminal Code
applies to employers, supervisors and prospective employers.
Protection for employees
is a criminal offence for an employer or supervisor to make it
reasonably appear to a person that that person’s prospects or working
conditions depends on the person’s acceptance or tolerance of sexual
advances or persistent sexual suggestions from the employer or
supervisor. The employer or supervisor (as the case may be) would have
committed sexual harassment and may be imprisoned for one year.
Protection for job seekers/ prospective employees
is also a criminal offence for a prospective employer to make it appear
to a job seeker or a prospective employee that the offer of employment
or the terms of the employment depends on the person accepting or
tolerating sexual advances or persistent sexual suggestions from him.
The prospective employer would have committed sexual harassment and may
be imprisoned for one year.
Protection under the Equality of Opportunity and Treatment in Employment and Occupation Act 2000
penalty for sexual harassment under the Equality of Opportunity and
Treatment in Employment and Occupation Act is a fine of $5,000.00.
Remedies available to a victim of sexual harassment
victim of sexual harassment can receive damages for losses suffered as a
result of the sexual harassment. The court may even order that the
employer or relevant person make amends by employing, re-employing or
re-instating the person who was sexually harassed (as the case may be).
course sexual harassment is not only limited to women. Both men and
women can be subjected to this same treatment and my focus here today in
no way minimizes the seriousness of any kind of sexual harassment
endured by men.
Victims can also call the CAFRA office for further guidance and support (758) 453-1608.
Of course the police can always be called in an emergency.
According to calypsonian Singing Sandra in her song 'Die With My Dignity' (1987)
"It have a lot of women just like me
Who might not be so well off financially
You need a job and you really need it bad
Ah man decide to help you must be glad
But if you value yourself as a woman you will be demanding respect from the vagabond
Stand up to them and let them know the truth
Is work you want you ain't no blinking prostitute...."
Thirty four years ago, as a teenager living at Mongiraud, Gros Islet, I was as carefree as any young boy could be. The world was a simpler place, and my days were nothing more than balmy experiences on Reduit beach, playing football on the sand, swimming, or just lazing around watching the the day go by as the waves lapped at the shore along that stretch of beach we all know so well from the base of Morne Pimard to the old Gros Islet cemetery. That stretch of golden sand was where you had to be, to be in-it.
One night, during my blissful existence, I left my parents' house, in that area of Mongiraud now known as Sugar City, and waited by the roadside for a ride to Castries to attend a party at a friend's house at Hospital Road. In those days public transportation anytime after 7 PM was a rare occurrence. Nevertheless, nothing would keep me away from the party action that night.
As I stood by the roadside hitching a ride a two door sports car drove by at high speed and slammed on the brakes soon after. Coming to a quick stop the reverse lights came on and the car reversed towards where I was standing. As it pulled up and stopped near me I queried the driver, "You going to town?" He quickly replied, "Hop inside, lets go."
The driver put the car into first gear (it was a manual), revved the engine, and in a peal of burning rubber we were off . Along the way we engaged in some unmemorable chit chat. As we passed Sunny Acres and neared the left hand turn near the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School the driver backed down to a lower gear as we were about to negotiate that corner. Coming out of the corner near Monplaisir Supplies he shifted gear again. I was loving the ride, as most people love fast cars and a race car experience; and to top it all off I was making good time on my way to the party.
Just as he completed the gear change I felt his hand touch my knee. I thought it was just an inadvertent occurrence since it was a very small car and a stick shift. However within a few seconds I realized this was no accident and that this man was caressing my knee and leg. I was stunned! My first thought was "this guy wants to bool me." I looked out the window and realized we were just rounding the corner near Monplaisir's Supplies and considered bailing out of the car since I was quite alarmed, however my better judgement decided against it. No words could come from my mouth as I was in a state of pure shock and disbelief. His hand went back to the gearstick. A few more knee rubs and caresses later we were quickly near the Castries Market. He blasted through the Jeremie Street intersection and we were on the La Toc Road. I was resolute that if this dirty bastard touched me again I would grab the steering wheel and wreck the car with both of us in it.
For those who remember the time when there was no Millennium Highway, there used to be some large fuel storage tanks on the Victoria Hospital grounds at Bananes. As we neared that location I said, "I taking it here." Before the car could even come to a complete stop I had bailed out. The bastard had the nerve to ask me, "You want me to come back and pick you up after the party?" I melted into the darkness.
Fortunately I am not scarred by this event which did not end as terribly as it has for so many others. There is no doubt in my mind what this man's intentions were. In fact, subsequently I have heard about his propensity for young boys. He is a well known lawyer in St. Lucia! He is not a cricket announcer.
I started off with this personal experience to simply state that I understand where many sex abuse and child molestation victims find themselves unwittingly at the hands of their abusers.
During the past week and a half social media, particularly Facebook, has exploded because of the exposure of a St. Lucian individual who took a plea deal in a child molestation case. This case had been adjourned multiple times over the past two years and had finally come to a head. The actions by certain individuals online have resulted in the colossal interest in this case which would have never been realized had it been left alone. Things happen for a reason.
We find ourselves at a very important juncture at this time since child molestation and sexual abuse have been a very constant discussion in St. Lucia for decades. Lets not stick our heads in the sand as we have all heard the stories. Especially in small islands like St Lucia those individuals perpetrating such acts against children and other persons enjoy the protection of too many who do not want to know the dirty truth.
Because so many have been silent to these despicable crimes among us for so long, and the mere fact they would have to face these crimes of the past and discuss the consequences, they are now afraid that too many dirty closets will be opened and that countless skeletons will be exposed. The unearthing of these complicit involvements and the tacit approvals will cause many to shudder at what has been allowed to be perpetuated against the children of St Lucia.
There is enough anecdotal evidence in St. Lucia supporting the concerns we all have pertaining to this scourge of child molestation. This evidence also puts, up front and center, the complicit involvement of so many individuals who should be the ones protecting our children. In fact all too often it is their children.
PART 2 - FOLLOWS BELOW THIS LINE
St. Lucia is littered with tormented victims of sexual crimes too numerous to mention. As we will all agree a large proportion of these broken individuals suffer in silence, fear, and shame. Not only because of the acts perpetrated against them by their abuser but as a result of the ridiculous and unashamed denial by family and friends.
How many stories have we all heard of young girls complaining to their mothers about their stepfathers or about mummy's current boyfriend who sexually molests them? You would have expected that their maternal instincts would have kicked in for the preservation of their child's sanctity, but no! Instead, these horribly misguided mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters, and other female relatives are the first ones to denounce such a cries for help. The responses below are common denials to reports of abuse:
"You lie!" "Ou trop jamet." "At your age is man you want." "Shut your ass, why you lying on him. He pays for your school and gives us money to pay the bills." "Why are you trying to break up my relationship. Your father set you up to do this."
Mothers who pimp out their underage girls to men for financial returns. Just yesterday, because of the brouhaha on Facebook and in anticipation of my story today, I was messaged by a friend with a story of a mother in St. Lucia. This lady sent her twelve year old daughter to he bedroom of a male friend who was staying for the weekend at their house. The little girl knocked on the door and when it was answered said she had been sent by her mother to spend the night with him. When asked why she answered that it was for money so she could buy school books. The man sent her back and asked her to send her mother instead. Is this desperation or what? How will this mother's actions affect her daughter in years to come. What values will she have relating to sex, love, and relationships? And the big question remains, "Was this the first time?"
Too often children making reports of sexual abuse encounter disbelieving parents. Shouldn't the first priority of any mother be the safety of her child?
Unfortunately the victims of these crimes are too often dissuaded from speaking out against their abuser. This creates a myriad of complicated psychological, relationship, and personal problems which have far reaching implications. We see so many people walking our streets with so many issues and have no clue the horrors they may have endured as children. In our workplaces, and social groups we see behaviours for which we have no clue as to their origin. We may be mystified by a friend's paranoia, fear of intimacy, or even bitterness towards the opposite sex, not realizing the psychological scars and baggage they carry.
What must we do?
It is time to speak out as a nation. Not just making noise online and between ourselves but for meaningful results and better protection of our most precious and vulnerable resource. This can only be accomplished by highlighting an age old problem within our society. It is a dirty little secret that we must all confront if there is to be any meaningful change. How many of you reading these lines were assaulted by a nasty, stinking rapist or child abuser. And how many of you after being molested were courageous enough to tell your story only to be met with scorn, shame, and denial?
Too many times the reason not to come forward is because the abuser is a married man; has a big job; or that the exposure of their actions will cause the breakup of his family. Far too often the protection of the abuser is more important than the welfare victim?
Although in many of these stories we tend to concentrate on female victims, young boys very often bear a great deal of the sexual molestation meted out. Sometimes molesters seem to have no preference and will target both boys and girls. Others prefer to specialize in their sordid ways. We have a society where too many excuses are made which allow these indecent, violent, and ILLEGAL acts to occur and go unreported for decades. Too many of us who should know better are facilitators and enablers for perverted, deviant, miscreants. Very often these sexual abuses result in pregnancy and children born to under aged girls. How the hell can a girl under the legal age of consent become pregnant, have a child, and yet still no one goes to jail? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?
How many wives turn a blind eye to these acts? Some of these people are so dependent on an abuser that they will allow their daughters to face the brunt of these assaults and pretend they hear nothing. They know what happens when these slimy perpetrators get out of bed in the middle of the night and don't return to bed within a few minutes. Does it take half an hour to go pee? In too many families these criminals remain a dirty little secret because the family is too ashamed to let anyone outside of their circles know what really goes on. They all know to keep they children close at hand during family functions when Uncle Joe is around because he is the family pervert. If any child is out of sight or Uncle Joe is missing someone will come looking. But let any word of Uncle Joe's nasty habits leak outside and they will circle the wagons to protect the family reputation. And how many times have we heard of these behaviours 'running' in families? Father, sons, uncles, sometimes all seem to have a flair for underaged girls or boys, or have rapist inclinations? St. Lucia is small and many people know who you are!
We see too many people who are quick to defend sex abusers with every excuse they can invent. Every reason not to deal with this serious issue is proffered. There always seems to be the excuse that we cannot afford the kind of enforcement necessary to stop these acts. If we are to apply this thinking to all crimes then we might as well do away with our police, the courts, and our jails.
The legal system is not perfect, but it is better than none at all. If there were no penalties or repercussions to our actions there would be chaos. It is important that we now seriously discuss dealing with age old issue. It is long overdue!
Children who are abused should always speak out. If any young person or even adult is reading these words and is being abused TELL SOMEONE! If the first person you tell, mummy, sister, aunty, or anyone else does not believe you STOP and find someone ELSE! Tell your teacher or someone you trust until someone will listen.
If you are in your room at night, or anywhere else and someone touches you inappropriately SCREAM and say NO, DO NOT TOUCH ME! Kick and scream. BITE if you have to.
We must speak in a language children understand. Don't be clinical in your conversations with them. Tell them simply not to let anyone touch their cackalack or cockolock and if anyone does to tell you immediately. Insist on this, and one day it may very well be crucial to them.
As part of this process Zandoli International Foundation (a St. Lucian organization registered in New Jersey) is proposing the setup of a sex offender registry in St. Lucia. Additionally, it is also proposing that any St. Lucian convicted for any sex crime in any other country be also registered in St. Lucia. This is particularly because the St. Lucian man recently convicted for a sex crime in New Jersey is known to travel frequently to St. Lucia multiple times each year. Zandoli International Foundation, of which I am a member, has also started an online petition for signatures which will be eventually forwarded to the government of St. Lucia for consideration in the establishment of the sex offender registry. The petition has been dubbed "We Want To Know" because it is felt that every parent has the right to have all pertinent information available to them for the proper safety of their children.
Please sign the petition below to show your support and play your part in making a change.
“Violators cannot live with the truth: survivors cannot live without it.
There are those who still, once again, are poised to invalidate and
deny us. If we don't assert our truth, it may again be relegated to
fantasy. But the truth won't go away. It will keep surfacing until it is
recognized. Truth will outlast any campaigns mounted against it, no
matter how mighty, clever, or long. It is invincible. It's only a matter
of which generation is willing to face it and, in so doing, protect
future generations from ritual abuse.”- Christine Oksana
Child Molestation, Sexual Abuse, Rape, are all crimes. Do not cover it up!