31 October 2020, Apia Samoa. A local motor club have stepped forward to partner with the Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG) as the NGO’s formal “guardians and protectors”.
Touched during their visit to bring gifts and spend Holloween with the children, members of the No Cash Motor Club made a commitment to be on-call 24/7 for SVSG.
“Whatever has happened to you, we want you to know that nobody will ever hurt you again,” said No Cash spokesman, Maanaima Faimalo Scanlan.
“We are here for you, we are your family now, and as your big brothers and uncles, we will help Mama Lina to protect you and guard this compound”.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang said it is not often that they are visited by a group of men; and she was touched to see how comfortable, safe and secure the children were around them.
After two hours of dancing, singing and fellowship, the partnership between the two NGOs was decided.
The SVSG President said it was important to work with men as advocates to stop violence in families.
“We will feel safer knowing that members of a club such as No Cash are sending a strong message out to the community that abuse and sexual violation of children IS NOT OK.
The mobile phone numbers of No Cash members have been noted by the staff of SVSG to be on-call for whatever time Siliniu needs transport, security or protection.
“We are often called out to respond in the middle of the night to incidents of domestic violence. We can now call on a brother to come with us, or to drive us.”
“We also need security during difficult Court cases involving some of the young girls, especially when the families of the perpetrators are angry because of what they will say during the testimony.”
Siliniu says forming the partnership with No Cash makes her feel safer already.
“It is good to know that I now have a whole group of protectors on speed dial, with just one phone call away my brothers here can come and help when we need it,” said Siliniu.
The SVSG Campus of Hope is home and refuge to close to 100 children who have been physically and sexually abused, mostly within their own homes by people known to them and President Siliniu Lina Chang confirms that 99% of the time, the perpetrators of the abuse are men, especially sexual abuse towards children.
Many of the children are living at the SVSG Campus of Hope while awaiting to give evidence against their perpetrators. Amongst the children under the care of Mama Lina is the 8 year old who gave evidence of her abuse in a court case last week where a panel of assessors found her abuser guilty.
The partnership between SVSG and No Cash will include having regular visits to re-establish trust and help the children survivors of abuse to feel safe again.
“On our next visit,” said Vice President Sului Fata, “we will come and make a BBQ for the children”.
Club Treasurer and hair stylist for his father Brian’s Barber Shop, Ivan Roebeck says next time, they will set up and offer hair cuts for the children.