At the end of this second week into the Saving Lives Campaign, Samoa Victim Support Group and its supporting sponsors have impacted the lives of many more of our people, including children as young as 6 years old, to elderly in their 90s.
Two child vendors age 6 and 12 were being abused while vendoring on the streets; while a 16 year old girl was sexually abused by a church minister while under his care. In both cases, strangers who are concerned members of the community became these children’s voices.
An SVSG village representative alerted SVSG via the Help Line for assistance to evacuate the sexually abused victim for her safety. SVSG staff travelled to the village late at night to pick her up. She is now safe at the Campus of Hope while the matter has been referred to the Police for investigation.
For the 6 and 12 year old child vendors, they were saved by a young couple who witnessed them being abused by a relative at the side of the road. While some members of the public at the scene choose not to intervene, this couple brought the 2 children to the SVSG office for help at close to 7.00pm. Upon closer look, the 6 year old was in a severe condition compared to the 12 year old. The matter was immediately referred to the Police. The children are now under SVSG’s shelter care.
As the Campaign continues, this week saw a 35% increase in the number of walk in clients to SVSG’s office seeking help for a variety of matters. For the Help Line, a 24% increase in the number of callers has been noted compared to last week. And this highlighted a community, much more aware of our collective responsibility to help save a life. Thank you to our people for trusting us to be of service to you in times of need. Thank you also to the strangers who became the voice of those too afraid to speak out.
But the highlighted cases brought to SVSG this week singled out the children as the most vulnerable, hence, they need more of our protection, especially given the perpetrators are usually the ones who have been entrusted to care for them. Look at the church minister whom the 16 year old stayed with, yet he turned around and sexually abused her. This is violence at one of its most ugliest we have seen.
The Saving Lives Campaign therefore must go on. And as a nation, we should not be discouraged by these ugly realities, but instead, should challenge us to keep on the good fight. The coming on board of Lemalu Ray Ah Liki and the Samoa Commercial Bank as well as Afamasaga Opeta Siilata and the Federal Pacific Finance, to offer further support to the Campaign is therefore encouraging.
If you would like to be a part of the Saving Lives Campaign; as a spokesperson for the media, a volunteer driver for after hour cases or a sponsor for the roadside billboards, you are most welcome to join us. Call the Help Line on 800-7874, message us on the SVSG Samoa Facebook page, or stop by our office next to the Police in Apia.
As the Chair of the SVSG Board, I would like to acknowledge once again the co-sponsorship by Bluesky and Digicel for the operation of the 24-hour free Help Line. This has enabled our people in need of help to contact us. Together, we will continue to save lives.” Georgina Lui