As Sexual violence impacts the very fabric of the Bahamian society, The Bahamas Crisis Centre is appealing to all, not to forget the survivors.
“We must provide a space for persons to share their experiences and find hope in healing,” said the Crisis Centre.
That is the goal and objective of “A Night of Hope and Healing” held by The Bahamas Crisis Center from 6pm-8pm on Friday, 29 September 2023 at the J.W. Whitney building on First Terrace, Centreville, and Collins Avenue. Guest Speaker is Lynelle Clarke, survivor. The United States Department of State, in its 2018 Human Rights Report noted that violence against women in The Bahamas continued to be a “serious widespread problem.”
At that time The Royal Bahamas Police Force had reported 45 reported rape cases, 12 attempted rapes, and 114 cases of unlawful sexual intercourse.
The issue of sexual violence was also documented in the 2019 National STEPS Survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Of the 3,840 individuals surveyed at least 13.1 percent (503 persons) reported that they had experienced a sex act against his/her will.
The 2023 Royal Bahamas Police Force Report of sexual offences statistics covering January to December 2022 reported an increase of 14% with 204 cases compared to 179 cases in 2022, with 78% of survivors in 2022 under 35 years of age, and 39% knew the person.
“We commend the Royal Bahamas Police Force for conducting additional analysis and for commencing its Sexual Offences Unit to address these matters urgently,” the crisis centre said.
The “Night of Hope and Healing” has an historical background from the Caribbean Conference of Crisis Centers held in 2015. During that conference, Dr. Sandra Dean-Patterson, psychotherapist, human rights activist, and founder and director of The Bahamas Crisis Center in
1982, remembered the commitment to identify a day to focus on sexual violence.
The Bahamas Crisis Center has kept its commitment and set aside this time of year annually to allow individuals to share their experiences, thoughts, and feelings, and to provide recommendations to reduce the incidents of sexual violence in The Bahamas.
Individuals impacted by sexual violence may feel alone, ostracized, or ashamed. “You are not alone. The Crisis Center and others are here for you.”
Other objectives of the “Night of Hope and Healing” are to be transformative, a call to reflection and action, to spark the vision of healing for families, relationships,
“We want the 2023 Night of Hope and Healing to spark the vision of hope and healing for the nation, and individuals to empower persons to support safe relationships and safe families.
“We must come together to address what we should be doing in relationships, families, and communities; to eradicate all forms of violence in our nation.
“We are not free from sexual violence until we all are free from the threat of sexual violence in The Bahamas,” said the Crisis Centre.
All are invited to attend the event on Friday, 29 September 2023 at the J.W. Whitney building on First Terrace, Centreville, and Collins Avenue.