Society

UNICEF Blog: Pick-Ni Cherry artist takes on dark secret of child sexual abuse

pick ni cherry kerron clarke unicef

Just published an interview I did with young author-illustrator-artist Kerron Clarke on the UNICEF Jamaica blog, about her illustrated novel Pick-Ni Cherry. The as-yet-unpublished novel is Kerron’s very personal attempt to warn children, families and society about sexual abuse happening within the home.

Herself a survivor of abuse, Kerron tells the story in a child’s voice, attempting to put us in the shoes of the most vulnerable and abused members of society. More than 1 in 5 Jamaican girls report forced sex. In many cases, the perpetrators aren’t strangers lurking in the dark. They are family members who are trusted and unsuspected.

Read the full interview here.

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Society

How in Jamaica do you leave a gang?

kingston jamaica automatic weapons gangs

A gang member here in Kingston. Photo: Peter Dean Rickards

Someone asked that question the other day. Yet if the crime rate is held by many as our biggest problem in Jamaica and gangs being a major factor then it makes sense that as a country we have a national push to get young people out of gangs. But can we name any such programme or initiative? Me, I scratched my head, as did others I asked in turn.

So in other words if a young gang member asked you, politely of course, ‘Help me get out!’ you wouldn’t know where to direct him or maybe her. Of course, there are places that could help in some way like skills training with Heart Trust NTA and, of course, organisations that deal with gangs in some way as part of a wider remit. But nothing that specifically addresses the personal dilemma as a gang member of being unable to remove oneself from a situation equally dangerous both for you and for others. Continue reading

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Society

Two articles I wrote in today’s Sunday Gleaner

The Gleaner today published the final two articles I wrote as part of my work for the World Bank NextGENDERation violence prevention project: successful but underresourced work the Jamaica Constabulary Force is doing to tackle domestic and gender-based violence; and a youth advocate speaking about the merits of using peer counselling to reach those most susceptible to violence.

  • Cops Fighting Abuse – Police Training Communities To Tackle Gender-Based And Domestic Violence
  • Unleash Our Potential – Youth Advocate
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    Society

    What would Jesus do? Street Pastors get the congregation onto the street

    operation save jamaica street pastors

    Photos: deanclarkephotography.com

    Weekly thousands of Jamaicans go to church, often to escape the harsh realities of their communities, but what if they instead devoted that time to social work? That’s the idea behind Street Pastors, an initiative which founded in Jamaica become a runaway success in the UK, but is only now gaining sufficient support locally.

    It’s not about evangelising but instead functioning as auxiliary social services: whether it be offering counselling to a potential suicide victim or as an intermediary for police to broker gang truces. Published in today’s Sunday Gleaner is my interview with members of Street Pastors’ Jamaica and UK teams, done as part of my work for The World Bank NextGENDERation project.

    The genesis of Street Pastors was the realisation that preaching to the converted was unlikely to have any direct impact on the youths outside that space.

    A common criticism of churches and their congregations is that they’re turning their back on the reality outside their doors, building megachurches to hide inside. Some years ago the JDF mapped murder hotspots and found that they were often close to churches – proof in a way that for residents in poor communities the church space functions in a similar role to that of a rum bar, just more spiritual than spirits.

    Not a churchgoer myself, though my family are, I respect people’s faith yet can’t help wondering that were Jesus around today he would be investing his energies out on the road, where his message and actions would be needed most, rather than in the house of God. Maybe as a Christian you agree, so why not volunteer? Click here to contact Street Pastors/Operation Save Jamaica.

    operation save jamaica street pastors

    operation save jamaica street pastors

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