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Op-Ed: Rehabilitation & Treatment for Victims of Sexual violence

For years sexually violated children have been herded thru the courts, to the shelters or farmed off island to other family members. Many are just programmed out from the shelters because of their age.


This year alone several juveniles were reported and incarcerated for sexual abuse of younger or disabled children. Now our children in juvenile are being sexually violated and sodomized in their cells.


Predictably, there is a recent report of a very angry young male teenager who was blatantly molested by an adult male neighbor in his own home. This happened last week. I am grateful that this young teenager and his mother had the courage to report the incident that had the potential to become fatal. 


With these increasing and systemic community problems;  anger management/counseling will not help the victim anymore than substance abuse counseling will help this reported “drunk” sex predator.


How many more children must be sexually molested and raped before the Department of Human Social Services  considers these victims as high risk; for wide spread mental illnesses, future predatory sex offenders, physical disabilities from rape and sodomy? How much more proof of broken humanity must we witness before someone steps up to acknowledge the need for a Rehabilitation/Treatment center and licensed social workers/ counselors.


 It appears that every reported sexually violated child victim is left on the slab without treatment.


Sex offenders are coming out of TCF without the benefit of rehabilitation. The failure of the Dept. of Human Social Services to provide a treatment program to treat sexually violated children is inexcusable.


For years, the past DHSS Directors have ignored this need or are in denial.


If it takes the Fono to confirm a Director, why not recall this director to find out why is there no action to provide treatment services for victims and sex offenders. Here is a department full of degreed counselors yet none, I was informed, are certified or licensed to practice in this area. This is a growing systemic problem that needs to be aggressively addressed thru a collaborative effort between DHSS, DOH, DPS and licensed counselors.


 Over 20 Years of ASG taking teams off island for training on social issues has not produced one solid base to rehabilitate sexually violated victims or sexual predators and pedophiles. DHSS has been receiving millions of federal funding dollars throughout the years for the awareness,  prevention and rehabilitation of domestic and sexual abuse. To date, it appears treatment for sex victims is the very issue they have been avoiding.


Child victims are growing up to be dysfunctional, troubled adults with multiple mental, medical and physical ailments. Always bear in mind the most depraved and vile acts were performed on these children by someone they knew, loved or trusted.


It was reported last month that a young juvenile was anally raped by his cell mates several times in the very cell that was supposed to keep him safe. How bizarre can it be for DPS to place a juvenile in a known sex offenders cell? How could this happen unnoticed by the DPS staff?


What are DHSS and DOH doing about this child’s mental state before he conforms into another sex offender or worse? Or are we going to continue with the out of sight, out of mind attitude? Most likely these victims and juvenile sex perps will just age right into the prison system to be further sexually victimized.


Children are being raped and molested in the security of their homes and in protective custody/juvenile. Children have been molested and raped over and over again until the offender was caught and jailed. Lets talk professional intervention, rehabilitation and treatment before letting sex offenders out and back into the community.


I have already been knocking on the doors of the Dir. Dept. of Health, Tuileama Nua through their Mental Health Program, Deputy Dir. DHSS Muavaefaatasi John Suisala, Dir. YAWA Pau Roy Ausage and the prosecution, hoping that through the Criminal Justice Planning office, they can assist or demand for the hiring of someone to provide therapy or residential treatment for our children.


 I still believe members of the Fono, who are our elders and leaders of our community, can play an active part by having the directors of DHSS, DOH & DPS explain their roles and what their plans are to address and rectify this horrendous situation. Despite the commissioners and wardens complaints and excuses on overcrowding to the Governor, letting sex offenders out before serving their sentences should not be an option.


Remember: These untreated children victims of sexual abuse and violence are our next generation of leaders.


It appears the crimes against our children will not stop. But we can at least treat and rehabilitate the young children and help them towards a healthy, healing and safe future.


Happy New Year