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Pressure group says OBA needs child-abuse sensitivity training

The One Bermuda Alliance leadership should get training to make them more aware of the impact of child abuse, a pressure group said tonight.

Social Justice Bermuda insisted education was needed after the resignation of Marcus Jones as the party’s Senate leader in the wake of comments that teenagers were inviting abuse, which sparked condemnation on social media.

Cole Simons, Leader of the Opposition

But the pressure group claimed the OBA had a bigger problem than just Mr Jones and said Cole Simons, the party leader, and other senior figures should undergo training from charity Saving Children and Revealing Secrets.

A spokeswoman for SJB said: “The Opposition leader’s defence of Marcus Jones’s vile victim-blaming behaviour must not be swept under the rug.

“Marcus’s comments were offensive and an apology for abuse.

“There are no ifs or buts about that, and for the Opposition leader to even try to justify the comments of his senator speaks to a wider problem within the OBA.

“Quite frankly, based on the excuses of the Opposition leader, it seems clear to us that the resignation is not because they genuinely disagree with the sentiments expressed by their Trump-supporting senator, but solely in reaction to political optics.

“We believe that the entire OBA leadership needs to attend Scars training immediately in order to begin the process of changing their mindset around these issues.

“That there were many comments online defending him is disgusting to us and highlights the problem of abuse and abuse excusers that wreaks havoc across all segments of our community.

“We believe this needs to be a moment for genuine learning and change and we encourage all people of all political affiliations to support the Centre Against Abuse, Scars and the CyberTips initiative who all do amazing work to counter the blight of abuse in our society.“

Mr Jones said during a Senate debate on Teen Dating Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month that there were online images featuring teenagers that would “absolutely make your hair stand on end”.

He added that no one would call abuse deserved.

But Mr Jones said: “I do believe our young people are inviting this type of behaviour because they are ignorantly getting on social media and putting themselves in harm’s way.”

The OBA said Mr Jones was a “man of principle” as the party announced his resignation last week.

Mr Simons said at the time: “To say I am saddened by the comments made by Senator Jones is an understatement.

“While it was not his intent to offend anyone, his words were perceived by some as hurtful towards young people, females, and victims of assault.”

Mr Simons added: “As previously stated, I do not believe that he intended to be offensive, but as public servants, we are all accountable for the words we speak, whether they were well-intended, they are not always received as such.”

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Published March 03, 2022 at 7:44 am (Updated March 03, 2022 at 7:44 am)

Pressure group says OBA needs child-abuse sensitivity training

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