Sitima, Malawi - "We should be prepared to respond to abuse in the same way we respond other human tragedies." This is one of the catching sentences we shared during the workshop on “protecting the minors and vulnerable adults” that took place at Stima parish on February 23, 2015. The workshop was facilitated by Fr. Louis Nkukumila smm and Fr. Jacob Otieno Ombidi smm. All the confreres of the Delegation now working in Malawi attended the gathering.
In the first part of the meeting we were invited to read through the statement of our 2011 General Chapter and the document entitled Minimum standards in dealing with cases of abuse of minors and sexual misconduct with adults (7th October 2014). In the presentation to this document, among other things, our Superior General highlighted the need for each entity to come up with a policy for the protection of the vulnerable.
After listening and appreciating both the statement of General Chapter and the words of Fr Santino Brembilla smm, Fr Jacob and Fr Louis led us to a better understanding of the dramatic reality of child abuse from the point of view of both the victim and the abuser.
Towards the end of the workshop, the confreres discussed on how best a policy for the entity could be developed, taking into consideration the local context and the congregation standards, and also the policy developed by the Episcopal Conference and Conferences of the religious.
The confreres agreed that a committee be formed as soon as possible with the mandate of developing a policy for the entity.
The community held another such gathering on 28th February, 2014 at Nantipwiri Pastoral Centre, Thyolo. On that occasion Fr Gerald Fitzsimmons, smm facilitated the meeting.