Thursday, March 1, 2018, reports of a 17-month old baby girl being brutally raped in Maskall Village, Belize spread like wildfire across social media. Very little is known as to what went on but what is certain is that a one year old is in critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for being brutally raped by someone known by her family. According to reports one individual is being detained at the Ladyville Police Station.
Belizeans are outraged by this heinous crime and have blatantly expressed their disgust and anger throughout social media outlets. The Belize Family Life Association and the Special Envoy for Women and Children have issued press releases on the matter. They are as follows:
Press Release By the Belize Family Life Association
March 1, 2018 - Belize Family Life Association is outraged by the disturbing reports of the vicious rape of a 17 month old girl. While this should be a time to celebrate the critical roles the family and society play in the positive development, education and protection of our children, we are instead faced with the horrific realities that many of our children suffer at the hands of adults, the very people who on a daily basis they are taught to respect. The act of destroying the innocence of our children, especially through sexual violence, must not be tolerated. We must be angry enough to demand that the necessary actions be taken by those whose duty it is to do so.
Evidence has shown that child sexual abuse can result in both short and long-term harm, including depression, poor self-esteem, sleep disturbances, self-destruction, as well as dissociative and anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Victims may withdraw from school and social activities and exhibit various learning and behavioral problems. Poor decision making regarding sexual behaviors and choices may be manifested in the adolescence stage resulting to teen/adolescence pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
BFLA firmly condemns sexual abuse in any form, the abuse of power and authority and the neglect of responsibilities, as well as anyone who encourages such behaviors.
BFLA therefore urges parents to be vigilant and become informed on the signs of sexual violence and to create an environment where children feel safe and comfortable in reporting any form abuse. We call on the justice system to ensure that offenders are prosecuted and victims are protected. And lastly we call on the members of our communities to focus on building and promoting enabling spaces for the prevention of the maltreatment of our children and foster the growth of productive members of society.
If you would like more information please contact the Executive Director, Mrs. Joan Burke-Skeen at 203-1018/615-0165
Press Release by The Special Envoy for Women and Children
The Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow is extremely devasted by news of the recent sexual abuse of a 17-monthold infant. She strongly condemns this act and urges that this heinous offence be handles thoroughly and in the best interest of the child involved.
“Sexual abuse is one of the most cod-hearted and degrading acts any person could commit against another person. No violence against children is justifiable and its disturbing to know that the dignity and innocence of our Belizean children are being compromised by sexual abuse. Such violations should not be taken lightly and the maximum penalty should be given to perpetrators,” states Mrs. Simplis Barrow.
We all have responsibilities for the welfare and protection of our children. The law puts a legal obligation on everyone in the public to report any cases of suspected child abuse. Under the Families and Children (Child Abuse) (Reporting) Regulations passed under Chapter 173S of the Laws of Belize, persons in the medical field are to report any form of child abuse and it shall be the duty of any family member, teacher, social worker, school counsellor, principal and deputy principal of any educational institution, dean of college, probation officer, police officer or any other employee of officer of the Government to promptly report orally of in writing all incidents of suspected child abuse which come to his/her knowledge and/or attention for investigation.
The Special Envoy for Women and Children will continue to raise awareness about all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation against children and will continue to work with the Governemnt of Belize, the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and all other organizations and to strengthen child protection systems at all levels, to make our families stronger and our communities safer for children. – END-
A demonstration will be held on Today, Friday, March 2, 2018 at 5:30pm in front of the Belize City Queen Street Police Station. Justice for Baby Alyssa!