Mother of abuse victims welcomes report
A mother whose children were victims of sexual abuse has called on MPs to implement recommendations made in a parliamentary report on the management of sex offenders.
The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she hoped the measures suggested by the Joint Select Committee would also end a culture of sex abuse being “swept under the rug” in Bermuda.
She warned: “The people of Bermuda are going to want to see the follow-through. They are going to want to see things implemented in reference to this. They are going to want to see change.”
The woman added her fight was not about politics but “about Bermuda, the people of Bermuda, the future of Bermuda and the safety of Bermuda”.
She said: “People are not going to want to come to Bermuda knowing we just let predators run free.”
She added that all children regardless of race or background and all people “have the right to feel safe, secure and supported, and to have a place that they could go to if they are ever hurt or if they are ever in that situation.
“Because of the way that Bermuda has been over the years, a lot of people have that sweep- under-the-carpet mentality and that’s not helping the healing.
“They have that mentality because, up until now, there was nothing in place to support them if they ever came forth with the information that someone was abusing them.”
The report, tabled by Progressive Labour Party backbencher Renée Ming in the House of Assembly on July 27, made recommendations for mandatory treatment and better management of sex offenders, as well as counselling and support for victims and their families.
Sexual abuse prevention charity Saving Children and Revealing Secrets said the report was a “huge victory for Bermuda and for child protection”.
The mother, whose children were abused by a man in a position of trust, said she was happy to “finally see a plan of action in writing”.
She added: “I am happy that something is being put in place and hopefully more people will be forthcoming with that information so that the public can be aware of the predators.
“I do agree that education and awareness are key in getting this issue out into the public in its full truth. I think that will aid the community in many different ways.
“We have to be able to look at our young people. We have to be able to look in their eyes and know this is our future, these are our next politicians, these are our next leaders.
“We are responsible for their safety, their protection, their guidance and their teaching, so we have to take a stance together to not allow any predators to be able to live a life of privacy, freedom or privilege while their victims are barely living.”
The mother said it was also important that perpetrators face harsher sentences.
She said: “They should not be able to go back to their lives.”
She explained that her children have to live with what happened to them every day.
“It never goes away. The way we have to live our life, we may as well be in prison. It’s not fair.”
She added: “I really do feel that this should have been implemented a long time ago and I think that if it had been, my family would probably be in a better state.
“But those things weren’t available for us. Hopefully, this will make people feel more comfortable so that they want to come forth and say what they have to say.”
The report is due to be debated by MPs in the House of Assembly today.
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