Social activist calls on Guyanese to move beyond dialogue to address rape and violence

DPI, GUYANA, Tuesday, November 21, 2017

From time immemorial, rape has been a major challenge for countries across the world. Guyana is no different, and like many nations has waged a full-on battle against the scourge, a cancer that threatens the moral and social fabric of our society.

Dr. Raquel Thomas-Caesar, Social Activist.

In this vein, social activists are deepening conversation internationally and locally on sexual harassment, rape and violence in all its forms. Several rights’ activists have spoken publicly on the need to raise more awareness on these human rights violations.

Dr. Raquel Thomas-Caesar, a Tropical Forest Ecologist by profession, is an avid human rights’ activist and member of the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Citizens Against Rape and she shared her views on the rape culture and how it is linked to sexual harassment.

“I find that there is a lot of excuses from men and some women about how women are treated when they walk down the road, even in the office, many women experience sexual harassment, so along with the rape culture there’s this sexual harassment thing, it’s just not acceptable,” she stressed.

Dr. Thomas-Caesar is not discounting the fact that men are also victims to rape and sexual harassment and believes that more needs to be done to protect all victims of these unacceptable behaviours. Workplaces, she said, need to adequately address the issue of sexual harassment by implementing stringent measures to deal with perpetrators.  The social activist said that “Many offices really need to be aware how to deal with this issue, because rape, it is something that is facing our society, that we have to deal with.”

She stressed the need for a number of measures to be put in place, among them more counsellors at schools, community support groups and awareness campaigns in all the regions, particularly far-flung areas. The call was reiterated for there to be specially trained police officers to handle sensitive cases, “they need to have psychology training, as well as counselling training,” she said.

Further, Dr. Thomas-Caesar called for legislative changes to ensure that victims of rape and other sexual crimes to be ensured swift justice.

With the proliferation of violence and rape in Guyana, the social activist is calling on all Guyanese to do their part and move beyond dialogue.

Dr. Thomas- Caesar added that “We can’t just mouth up…we need to translate that into action and we need to get to our children because that is the way to change this culture.”

 

By: Stacy Carmichael

 

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