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"Are victims not bold enough to face their perpetrator in court?"
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"Are victims not bold enough to face their perpetrator in court?"

Genitta PascalToo few cases of sexual assault make it to the courts despite millions of women around the world becoming victims every year. Why is it that attacks go unpunished, asks Commonwealth Correspondent Genitta Pascal, a 19-year-old from the Caribbean island of St Lucia?

According to the United Nations, sexual abuse is defined as the actual or threatened physical instruction of sexual nature, whether by force or under equal or coercive conditions.

There are two types of touches: good touches and bad touches.

The dissimilarity between good touches and bad touches are that good touches are not wounding, but bad touches can cause a great deal of destruction in the victim’s life.

Bad touches can  harm victims psychologically where they might in turn suffer from depression – physically and emotionally. It may result in them having problems building trusting relationships since everyone may be seen as a potential molester.

The offence is very much in the news. Miss Alisha Ally, the leader of the opposition in St Lucia’s youth parliament, recently spoke about the increasing trends of sexual assault in the Caribbean.

Not too long ago there was an aggravated assault on two British female nationals who came to Saint Lucia on an environmental expedition. Also, in international news, a 32-year-old hotel maid says that she was sexually assaulted by Mr Dominique Strauss Khan, then head of the International Monetary Fund (he denies the claims).

Statistics on sexual abuse were difficult to obtain until the 1970s when individuals (women) began to speak of their experiences. In 2005, crime statistics in Saint Lucia conveyed that the male sex has dominated the female sex when these offences come into play. However in that year no cases were dealt with in the court.

Why is it that perpetrators of sexual assaults so often go undetected and unpunished?

Is it because we are lacking the appropriate resources to investigate incidents of this nature? Are the victims being killed during the offence or are the witnesses, if any, and victims not bold enough to face the perpetrator in the court of law? Is it fear?

I am of the view that we should be more cognizant of our surroundings. Also there should be stiffer penalties put in place in order to curb incidents of this nature, because sexual assault is unquestionably unfair on the victim’s part.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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