Cayman documentary on sexual abuse to feature at international conference

Protection Starts Here working group members: From left, Brandy Darby, Sophia Chandler-Alleyne, Nancy Davey, Suzanne Seagraves, Carolina Ferreira, Cindy Blekaitis, Kevin Ashworth, Laura Elniski and Mari Abe. Not pictured: Camila Ferreira.

A documentary about child sexual abuse made in the Cayman Islands will be featured at the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect’s congressbeing held in Prague this September.

The documentary, “Unspeakable: Confronting Child Sexual Abuse in the Cayman Islands,” is one of only four media theater presentations that were accepted for this year’s congress. Other entries accepted were from the United States, and two submissions from the United Kingdom, including one from Scotland.

“We are thrilled and humbled to have been accepted to be a part of this global congress,” said Red Cross Deputy Director Carolina Ferreira in a press release. “There is so much to be gained when people from around the world come together to discuss their efforts, share their research and experiences, and broaden their network of professional support and expertise. That Cayman will make a contribution to this global discussion makes us really proud.”

“Unspeakable” was the second major output of the Protection Starts Here multi-agency child abuse prevention project, which is spearheaded by the Cayman Islands Red Cross working in partnership with the Employee Assistance Programme, the Health Services Authority, the Ministry of Education, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Sands Creative Film Studio, and the Special Needs Foundation, with funding support from Hedge Funds Care Cayman Islands.

The project was launched in 2012 with a series of public service announcements. Since then, the work has expanded to include multiple prevention and education outputs which include the production of the local educational documentary.

The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect was formed in 1977 and its mission is to prevent cruelty to children in every nation, in every form. The organization’s international congress is held every two years, and 2018 marks its 22nd such undertaking.

“One of ISPCAN’s stated goals is their commitment to increasing public awareness of child abuse, which is very much in line with the work of the Protection Starts Here group here in Cayman,” said Cayman Islands Red Cross Director Jondo Obi. “Since 2012, the PSH working group has been doing really tremendous things to raise public awareness on the issue of child abuse in general and child sexual abuse specifically.

“They have really helped to shape conversations that we are having now because even six years ago these topics were not receiving this level of consistent awareness and attention.”

“Unspeakable” has been widely used by the working group during awareness sessions. It is available free of cost to the public in hard copy and online via the CIRedCrossTV channel on YouTube.

“I am extremely proud of ‘Unspeakable’ and the way which Mari Abe and Ben Hud were able to help us put together such a high-quality documentary,” Ms. Ferreira said. “When we presented at the National Child Advocacy Center’s annual conference in Alabama earlier this year, the participants were blown away by the film, so we know that we have something that holds up to international standards.”

The media presentation in Prague will involve not only the screening of the film, but also an interactive presentation with attendees.

For more information on the Protection Starts Here project or how to get involved in child abuse prevention in Cayman, contact [email protected] or 916-1742.

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