The month of April will be observed as Child Abuse Prevention Month by the Cayman Islands Youth Development Consortium, with their third annual Blue Ribbon Campaign.
From 1-30 April, individuals across the island will wear blue ribbons to show their support and commitment for the prevention of child abuse and CIYDC initiatives. Ribbons are being sold for $1 each at all Esso Gas stations and the money collected will go towards setting up a youth development office in Savannah.
Child abuse, especially sexual abuse, can be considered an underlying contributory factor to the adolescent problem behaviors; youth violence, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, delinquency and school drop-out. Therefore, the consortium decided to spearhead an awareness campaign to coincide with its prevention programme.
‘There are some obvious factors within the family, community and amongst young people that lead to drug use, sexual promiscuity and violence,’ campaign representative Slyvia Wilks said, highlighting peer pressure as one example.
‘However research shows that child sexual abuse can be another direct cause of these issues, and is and underlying factor that often goes unchecked until it’s too late.’
She added: ‘When you think about the effects of child sexual abuse and the number of personalised and societal problems it brings, we can’t afford not to be involved in preventing it.’
Activities through out the month of April will include child abuse prevention prayer breakfast, community prevention workshops and a special school assembly to acknowledge the work of an individual in the child abuse prevention field.
The Blue Ribbon Campaign originally began when Bonnie Finney of Portsmouth, Virginia, started a personal battle to combat child abuse after the death of her grandson.
Tying a blue ribbon around her van’s antenna in memory of her grandson Michael ‘Bubba’ Dickinson, whose battered body had been found at the bottom of a canal, her hope was to change at least one life if possible.
‘If we change one child’s life, it would be worth it. I don’t want other parents or grandparents to go through what we’re going through,” she said.
For more information, contact Sylvia Wilks on 917-3885 or visit www.ciydconline.com.