The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The fol­low­ing is a state­ment is­sued by the of­fice of the prime min­is­ter as Dr. Kenny Anthony com­ments on a re­cent up­surge in re­ported in­ci­dents of rape.

“Like many of you, es­pe­cially our women, I feel a deep sense of out­rage, re­vul­sion and anger about the re­cent spate of rapes in our coun­try. Rape is a bru­tal act of vi­o­lence.

I so wish I could find the right words to com­fort the vic­tims, their fam­i­lies and friends.

It is true that there have been many in­ci­dents of rape in the past, many of which have never been re­ported, but why is it that some men have sud­denly felt em­bold­ened to com­mit these crimes in re­cent times?

It is clear that strong laws with stiff penal­ties are not enough. We have to look for other so­lu­tions.

We need to look se­ri­ously at the sug­ges­tion that a “Sex Of­fend­ers List” be cre­ated. In that re­gard, we must look at the ex­pe­ri­ence of other coun­tries that have moved in that di­rec­tion.

We need to re­view how rapes are ev­i­denced in court. It is not right that a vic­tim of rape has to un­dergo such trauma in giv­ing ev­i­dence be­fore a judge and jury. Giv­ing ev­i­dence is a de­hu­man­iz­ing and trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence. Should rape cases be heard be­fore a jury?

Men must be made to un­der­stand, that “no means no”; “si­lence also means no”. For my part, I will en­sure that the Police Force im­ple­ment my sug­ges­tion that a ded­i­cated unit be es­tab­lished within the Police Force to in­ves­ti­gate rapes and bring to jus­tice those re­spon­si­ble for these heinous acts.

I am sure you have other sug­ges­tions. Some cham­pion the need for self-de­fense classes; oth­ers want to le­gal­ize the use of pep­per spray.

This is not a “red” or “yel­low” is­sue. It touches all of us and so we must ex­press our col­lec­tive out­rage in one voice.”

Prime Min­is­ter Kenny Anthony.

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