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‘Don’t turn blind eye’ to abuse

TRE GREAVES, [email protected]

‘Don’t turn blind eye’ to abuse

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An even greater spotlight needs to be shed on issues such as domestic violence and sexual abuse.

This is the view of three authors who made it to the finals of the 20th annual Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Awards.

Sonia Williams, who placed third, Heather Barker, who was second, and recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award, Shakirah Bourne, touched the theme in some way in the pieces they submitted, during the presentation ceremony at the Courtney Blackman Grande Salle of the Tom Adams Financial Centre on Saturday.

Bourne’s novel entitled Getting Back At Jack Taylor, is a coming-of-age work where a young girl has the challenge of tackling her aunt’s temperamental boyfriend as she prepared to sit the Common Entrance Examination.

“We have a lot of work to do in terms of the support of people who are going through that type of situation and fixing the cultural problems that we have, where we may accept certain norms that we should not be accepting,” she said.

Bourne suggested the law needed to be more proactive and stressed it was not okay for people to just turn a blind eye when they saw such situations.

Barker said literature was a way to highlight both sexual abuse and domestic violence.

“It has become a daily reality for lots of people . . . and I think we need to be aware of how endemic it has become.

“And we need to not shame victims and not to normalise the behaviour and sexualisation of girls and boys, but create safer spaces for girls and boys,” she said.

Williams’ collection of poems was entitled Her Bald Head Luminous and she said focusing on ways to heal from the trauma was just as important as the conversation.

This year there were over 70 entries to the writing competition. Third place earned $5 000, while second place received $7 500. There was no first place winner. (TG)