‘Break di silence’

‘Break di silence’

A screen grab from the Break Di Silence music video showing a man harassing a schoolgirl played by an adult.

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Michael Abrahams is sounding the alarm on child abusers in a music video which encourages Jamaicans to speak up about instances of abuse.

The music video called Break Di Silence was launched on Thursday, in observance of Child Month, in partnership with the None in Three (Ni3) Centre — an international organisation that focuses on global prevention of gender-based violence — and CAT Productions, an in-house media production agency at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

Abrahams explained that throughout his profession he developed an interest in childhood trauma which prompted him to do the music video.

“I see the end results of childhood trauma. Some people reduce gynaecologists to just the female reproductive system, to the pelvis, but it’s the whole person. I am seeing people with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, dysfunctional relationships, anger management issues, and physical disease,” he said.

This screen grab from the launch of Dr Michael Abrahams’ Break Di Silence music video designed to encourage people to prevent and report child abuse shows two members of the production crew and the lead female actress checking the quality of the video during the shoot.

“We have to break the silence; you can’t just see things and look the other way. It could be your child,” added Abrahams.

The music video features a young woman represented as a schoolgirl being forcefully lured by an adult male into a vehicle who was then deterred by two concerned adults.

The video also features the few Jamaica Observer articles highlighting cases of child abuse.

According to Abrahams, the video should underscore the signs of child abuse, grooming, and the importance of reporting child abuse cases.

“The interesting thing is that this song was recorded several years ago. I put it down waiting for the right time to do a video. So when Ni3 reached out to me that was the perfect opportunity,” said Abrahams.

“I realise that a lot of Jamaicans are trauma survivors and a lot are survivors of sexual trauma. It is something that we do not talk about enough, it is something that we don’t report enough, and it is something that we need to know more about. So I am very driven to write and speak about childhood trauma. I hope it will be a long-term thing, not a move along thing,” he said.

Prior to Abrahams’ music video, an Ni3 study was conducted between 2018 and 2019 which highlighted data from 7,182 children and young people from ages nine to 17 in Jamaica, relating to the prevalence of maltreatment including corporal punishment, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect inside and outside the family.

From the sample consisting of 4,367 females and 2,815 males, 13.2 per cent of children experienced three or more types of maltreatment outside the home.

Findings also revealed that just under a half of children experienced emotional abuse from a non-family member, making it the most frequently experienced type of maltreatment by adults outside the home.

In addition, almost 25 per cent of children experienced non-contact sexual abuse, and 10 per cent experienced contact sexual abuse, by an adult outside their home.

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