It is not your fault, says PNP Women’s Movement president to children of sexual abuse
Patricia Duncan Sutherland

KINGSTON, Jamaica - President of the People’s National Party (PNP) Women’s Movement, Patricia Duncan Sutherland, wants children who are victims of sexual abuse to understand that it is not their fault.

“[I want them] to know that there is a community who understands [that] you are not at fault. You do not need to be ashamed of what's occurring in your life and there are ways for you to express your power and step out of those situations and be powerful,” Duncan Sutherland said.

Duncan Sutherland was speaking with OBSERVER ONLINE in a recent interview ahead of the upcoming PNP Women’s Movement’s Elevate Her Summit to be held on May


She added that one of the main things the advocacy group is hoping to accomplish, is the strengthening of laws around the sexual abuse of children.

“I don’t think there is enough of a deterrent in this society. But not only strengthen the laws, but we have to look at the justice system to see that there is a court that they can go through quickly. Because take the typical five years it take for a case to go through the court in Jamaica it would be very difficult for victims of sexual abuse to hold that in for five years,” Duncan Sutherland argued.

Duncan Sutherland also stated that she was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, and it took her “some time” to become a very empowered survivor. As such, she wants the same for children who have had similar experiences.

“I have been a victim of sexual abuse as a child. An uncle and a grand uncle did sexually abuse me. It took some time for my family to be able to understand and to be able to guide it through. So those young women now who are sexually abused and in situations where there is a lot of victim blaming - why you wear that clothes, why you never put on better clothes? or don’t tell anybody because is him paying the bills or don’t tell anybody because we nuh wah shame as a family because is my brother who do it to you,” Duncan Sutherland said.

“All of those things, how do we get through those things and get to a place where young girls can be empowered to tell the persons who are there to protect them and then something is done about it in a way that doesn’t make the young person feel that they have to hide by themselves,” she continued.

She added that the sexual offender’s registry needs to be strengthened, “so that these persons don’t get back into a system that has children as their primary care.”

- Candice Haughton

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