Incest is very prevalent in The Bahamas and is such a serious offence that there should be an increased awareness about it, says psychologist Dr. Pamula Mills.
Mills was the guest speaker at a Sexual Assault Awareness Seminar hosted by Urban Renewal at the Freeport Bible Church, and said the incidences are more common than some people would like to believe.
“This is probably the best kept secret in The Bahamas,” said Dr. Mills.
“We have more incest cases than you would ever want to know about. We have islands here that were built on incest and it is very difficult to get persons in the community to come forward and talk about incest,” she said.
Mills estimated that approximately eight out of every 10 clients of hers have been the victim of incest.
In 2008, 719 cases of incest were reported in The Bahamas.
Only 50 percent of babies born from such unions are healthy.
“However, 20 percent of them are born with brain damage, 30 percent with massive physical disabilities and many of the babies actually die. The blood is too close.”
Mills’ presentation was a timely one, as the month of April is designated Child Protection Month in The Bahamas.
The psychologist also shared some interesting statistics about other types of sexual assault, such as the fact that there is also a considerable incidence of child molestation in The Bahamas, and that despite popular perception, most pedophiles are heterosexual.
Rape is a common crime that unfortunately goes unreported many times, she noted.
A woman has a 26 percent chance of being raped in her lifetime and statistics show that men are more often raped by strangers, while women are raped by people they know.