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Feb 25, 2019

A Rally in Support of Cyber Bullying Laws and Teen Victim of Indecent Exposure

The disturbing issue of cyber bullying is finally taking centre stage.  Online bullying is not new, but given two well-known recent cases, it is now taking a sense of urgency, prompting legislation as well as awareness.  Today, during the lunch hour, a group of demonstrators led by attorney Audrey Matura were on Albert Street in downtown Belize City. They were bringing attention to the emotional and psychological distress experienced by victims of bullying on the internet. In this case, a young female student from Wesley College was targeted by an older man, who used the internet to spread sexually explicit images of the teen. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Solidarity, in the name of standing up against cyber bullying, is more symbolic than it is a show of strength in numbers.  At midday today, a handful of supporters, including a class of students from SJC, gathered in front of Wesley College joining activist Audrey Matura in a peaceful demonstration.  Among them was Shakira Young who has been outspoken in the wake of the indecent exposure of a teenage minor.

 

Shakira Young

Shakira Young, Supporter

“It’s not me saying [that] what was done was right, but it’s me saying that posting the video and sharing it is wrong and if you’re going to say that I support one then support all.  Support the smaller ones, support the ones that don’t really have the ability to defend themselves.”

 

Last Saturday, a pair of videos depicting news anchor Indira Craig, as well as a female minor engaged in separate sexual activities, was released via social media.  The despicable act of recording and disseminating footage of the sexual encounters is an invasion of their privacy and has sparked conversation regarding a need for cyber bullying laws to be enacted and enforced.

 

Arthur Roy Williams

Arthur Roy Williams, Supporter

“The organizers of this event see it fit that the legislation that we have is to be put into practice and not only on the books, you know.  So that is why I am here to show my solidarity.”

 

Attorney Audrey Matura has taken the lead on this initiative.  Not only is there a call for support to be provided for the traumatized high school student, she is commending Wesley College for the manner in which it has gone about addressing the issue.

 

Audrey Matura

Audrey Matura, Activist

“It’s a solidarity demonstration.  It’s supposed to be positive.  It’s supposed to make the students of this institution know that we support them, especially the young lady who has been victimized by some ruthless person or persons and it’s a way also to applaud the institution for having taken a different approach.  So we want to demonstrate that we are grateful and that this is a good conversation point for us to start the wider conversation.”

 

That dialogue also includes the constructive input of other men.  Arthur Roy Williams is the parent of an adult daughter and he too found the incident entirely repugnant.

 

Arthur Roy Williams

“In my humble view, I wouldn’t want my daughter to be exposed.  What you have in private should be private and not public, so I am totally against those types of events and that’s why I am here also.”

 

Reporter

“Okay, so you’re more for the exposure aspect.”

 

Arthur Roy Williams

“Correct.  What happened is that men, we are losing our manhood.  What happened is that we should revenge people in that manner.  It hurts and I hope that the person who did it should move back to where he began and consider himself because that’s not being manhood and if he has a daughter I hope that he finds it in his heart to apologize and say I am sorry for what I did.”

 

Pointing out what, to poet and activist River of Fire, appears to be a glaring discrepancy is the difference between the legal age to consume alcohol and the legal age to consent to sexual intercourse.

 

River of Fire

River of Fire, Poet/Activist

“We are allowing children to be reduced and reduce the age limit to when they can consent to sex.  You can’t drink alcohol in this country until you are eighteen, but you can have sex when you are sixteen.”

 

This afternoon, supporters were asked to sign a petition which Matura says will then be taken to each of the remaining districts for additional signatures.

 

Audrey Matura

“I want them to focus on two main things; we are signing a petition that deals with two issues.  There is a Convention on the Rights of a Child; Article 34 specifically deals with pornography and sexual exploitation of children.  The government already signed and ratified those things; they need to keep on doing the domestic legislation, programs, budgeting, whatever they need to curb that.  The second one is that we also signed the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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