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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, December 4, 2023


I am a native Virgin Islander and an incest survivor who was sexually abused by my maternal uncle more than 13 years ago. In 1997, I found out that he did not stop with me; he continued on to my cousin.
My uncle had two girls and two boys in his home that I feared for, and I decided to place a complaint with the Human Services Department about my concerns for their safety.
On Oct. 8, 1997, I called this department seven times trying to file a report and received this treatment:
1. I was transferred to an employee's voice mail, which was so filled to the capacity that I couldn't leave a message.
2. I was yelled at and disconnected by the receptionist because I expressed my concerns for being put on hold for a long time during my long distance call.
In order for me to finally place this report, I had to call the Commissioner of Human Services Department. From calling this office and complaining about my difficulty in filing the report, the secretary was able to transfer me directly to the department's supervisor. After explaining to the supervisor that I was trying to place a report, she informed me that an intake counselor would have to assist me.
When I was transferred to the intake counselor, I clearly stated to her that I was sexually molested (meaning penetration) by my maternal uncle at the age of 13. It continued until I ran away from home within the same year. When I left, I never returned.
Recently my cousin moved to South Florida; one month later she attempted suicide.
Afterward, it was revealed that she was sexually molested by him also. He was having sexual intercourse with her until she moved to South Florida; she is now 19 years old. Our maternal uncle was confronted by my cousin's mother, and he admitted that this did take place.
I gave this intake counselor all the necessary information she would need to proceed with an investigation. In addition to the name and addresses of the school the children attended, their home address, telephone number, parents name and place of employment, I also gave her my cousin's telephone number in case she needed to verify or ask any questions pertaining to the report.
My outrage with the Department of Human Services started on Oct. 22, 1997.
On that day, I did a follow up call about the report that I placed two weeks earlier. The intake counselor told me that she has not had contact with the family as of yet–her intention was to bring the mother and children into her office. I then asked her if the children could be seen at their school, and she told me this is the way she is working the case.
My telephone calls continued until Feb. 10, 1998, when I contacted the Office of Attorney General about the report that I'd placed with the Human Services Department and discussed how it was handled. From there I wrote a letter to the acting commissioner of Human Services about my concerns and sent copies to the intake counselor's supervisor and the Attorney General's Office.
On March 20, 1998, I received a letter from their office assuring me that they would do everything within their professional capabilities to ensure that the children receive the best possible protection.
Why did I have to jump through "fire circle burning hoops" in order to get this department to respond accordingly? I was told that when a case is reported the counselor has 48 hours to make contact with minors. This was never done within the 48-hour time frame. After going through this dilemma, it was apparent to me things has not changed within the system when it comes to issues like these. The victims are made to feel like the perpetrator.
Catherine Mills stated that we need to have "public outcry," and I agree with her. But we need to first start with the department that is supposed to be there to protect the victims. The relaxed mentality and attitude that permeates this system with child abuse and neglect cases prevents the victim from coming forth and speaking. Since we fear being ridiculed and judged because there is not enough public education on this type of abuse, it is occurring more than we want to admit.
As a survivor of child abuse, we need a safe haven for victims to feel comfortable to stand up and speak out about their abuse without feeling a double dose of the shame and disgrace that we have been burdened to carry and endure.
I have begun my fight. I welcome you to visit my home page which I have dedicated to all my sisters and brothers in the Caribbean Islands that are weeping "tears" that can't be heard. These tears are silent cries of child abuse and neglect.
Click here to go to Elaijah's home page.

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