NFPB alarmed by child rapes
THE National Family Planning Board (NFPB) has expressed alarm at the instances of child rape that have embarrassed and outraged Jamaicans.
"I would like to take note of the recent rapes (of children) that have been occurring. The National Family Planning Board condemns it absolutely," declared Dr Sandra Knight, the chairperson of the National Family Planning Board — Sexual Health Agency. "We know that there may be much more incidents of rape than is actually reported...We think it's a disgrace," she told the Jamaica Observer Press Club on Thursday.
"We are trying to find out some of the factors that influence this obvious increase, and we would like to also partner with stakeholder ministries to do something about what's happening. We have to and must protect our children," Dr Knight said passionately.
Adding her voice, NFPB Executive Director Sania Sutherland said the level of sexual and gender-based violence was cause for much angst, adding: "That is something that is recurring that we as the National Family Planning Board are very concerned about," she pointed out.
The murder of eight-year-old Celeena Edmore last Monday, allegedly by a 20-year-old from her St Thomas district is the latest case that has rocked the country.
The child who had been sent to a nearby shop to purchase meat was later found in bushes by residents with her throat slashed three times, her hands bound behind her and her blouse missing. A suspect has since been held in connection with that incident.
In September of last year, the country was aghast at the brutal rape and attack of a 15-year-old girl by her father, a former convict.
That was followed in December by reports from the Office of the Children's Advocate that more than 8,000 cases of child abuse were reported between January and August that year and the office was contacted every 30 minutes with an allegation of ill-treatment. Jamaican representatives of the United Nations Population Fund also reported that 10-year-old children, many of them victims of incest and rape, are among the 1.7 per cent (32,000) of the Jamaican population that tested positive for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
In April of 2012 the Office of the Children's Registry (OCR) said at least 7,245 Jamaican children were reported to have been sexually assaulted over the past back four years. It said Jamaica's "informer fi dead" culture was preventing even more people from reporting the dastardly acts.