Friday, Jul 19, 2019
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Low view of women leads to rise in sexual assault and rape

Dear Editor,

The recent announcement by the Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson that a special unit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force will be charged with the primary responsibility of addressing the escalation of rape and sexual assault cases is indeed commendable.

However, only a total national premium attached to the value and the worth of women will lead to a decline in the ghastly act of rape.

Too many Bahamian men have a low view of women and too many Bahamian women accept and promote a low self-image of themselves and of other women.

Psychologists tell us that men who have an unbalanced sense of superiority toward women and cannot handle female rejection are more likely to assault them. Rape has very little to do with sexual gratification, but more to do with attempts to dominate and exertion of power.

When you value something, you protect and provide for it. God placed value on women not only in their role as a helpmeet for a man, but also as an individual made in the image of God. A woman may be different from a man in function and role but is every bit equal in her intrinsic human worth. In recognizing the worth of a woman, a man adds value to himself.

When we see, hear or even witness atrocities and wrongs committed against women, we must be reminded that God Himself honored women by providentially using a woman to be the human surrogate by which He entered humanity to redeem mankind.

I invite persons who have experienced the ghastly act of rape to take a page from the late, great poet Maya Angelou – herself a victim of rape – when she said, “I may be changed by what happened to me, but I refused to be reduced by it.”

The church and survivors of sexual assault

The church’s counselling ministry, established on the basis of confidentiality, should seek to accomplish several things:
1. Churches need to talk more openly and honestly about the gift of sex and boldly decry instances of sexual abuse, including among family members and between married couples.

2. In the case of sexual assault and rape, ministers and religious leaders should avoid telling victims and survivors that God allowed such atrocities to take place “to make them stronger”. People who assault and rape are demonically controlled.

3. The survivors of a rape ought not to be blamed for the actions of their attackers. Misplacing the blame on survivors constitutes a second assault.

4. Rape survivors should file a police report as soon as possible. Survivors should also seek medical attention as soon as feasible, even in unfortunate instances when survivors choose not to file a police report immediately or at all.

5. Persons who have been sexually abused should also seek counselling from a trained, trustworthy, Christian counsellor.

6. Church leaders should not cheapen the ordeal by hurriedly telling the victim to forgive their attackers and move on. Survivors should be given the space and time needed to deal with the physical and emotional turmoil which accompany their assault, and more importantly the tools to do assist them in doing so.

It is my fervent prayer that the church will fulfill its mandate to heal the wounded and help with their mental, physical and emotional wellness.

– Bishop Simeon B. Hall

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