DEAR CHRISTINE: Our duty to expose child abuse
I PROBABLY should have written this letter more than two years ago, but like many Barbadians I simply prayed about the situation but did nothing to publicly help children like those who I learnt were being sexually abused by their “daddies” and so-called stepfathers.
I had the privilege of visiting a primary school a few years ago and being given the opportunity to chat with nine-, ten- and 11-year-old girls. This was part of a community outreach programme.
Our discussions dealt with issues our young people face on a daily basis. I was touched to see these children so eager to discuss subjects which impacted them.
As I was leaving this institution, I felt a tap on my back. A child (of fair size) asked if she could speak with me. I reasoned she must have given some significant thought to what she wanted to speak about. That’s because I had already exited her classroom block and was almost outside the confines of her school.
I told her we could chat, and she proceeded to tell me her daddy sometimes “interfered” with her when she visited him at his parents’ home. I asked if she had disclosed this to her mother. She said “yes” and that some changes to her visits had been made.
I proceeded to ask if she wanted me to talk to her mum. She said “no” because she was afraid her mum would be angry with her for sharing this information with me.
What she said next showed me the seriousness of what our little girls (and perhaps boys) are facing. She confided that two other girls in her classroom were being sexually abused by their stepfathers. In her own words: “Their stepfathers does have sex with them.”
I was shocked to know these three primary school students shared this one thing in common. This child was reaching out for help but yet was pleading with me not to do anything about the situation because of her fears about what her mother would think and what her own father would do.
Christine, my heart aches for our young people. I believe I failed this child and her friends because, like many adults in this society, I hid my head in the sand.
To get involved meant that child would become a victim all over again. How sad, but no more. We must speak out and get to the bottom of child abuse in any form or fashion.
Not all men are the same, but young mothers in our society and societies the world over need to understand the perilous times in which we are living.
We have lots of “child fathers” out there who drop their sperm wherever the women allow them to. These “sperm droppers” never see themselves as fathers or stepfathers. They are only along for the ride.
I am yet to understand how a man can even entertain the thought of sexually abusing his own flesh and blood.
As we prepare to face 2016, I honestly hope that as a nation, we would realise the responsibility we have to nurture our young people.
I hope that men would become more responsible fathers, brothers, uncles, stepfathers and husbands. I hope they would clear the sexual litter from their minds and love and respect our young people.
I hope in 2016 that women in our society would not die at the hands of their lovers, child fathers or husbands, only to have them turn up at Dodds for an all-inclusive stay.
Who decided that the death penalty should be abolished? Wrong move, Barbados!
I hope more of our young people will not have to turn to suicide as the answer out of their troubled lives – all because of irresponsible mothers and fathers.
I wish that women would respect their bodies more, understand that motherhood is honourable, and avoid pregnancy if they are not ready to raise children.
Let’s all wise up this coming year for the sake of our nation’s children.
To my little friend(s): I hope the abuse has stopped.
– DEEPLY CONCERNED
Dear Deeply Concerned,
Your letter makes me want to cry, as it clearly speaks for itself.
We’ve had many wake-up calls in the recent past. Every adult must play his or her part for the well-being of our children by reporting any known cases of child abuse.
We must do less talking and develop an action plan to protect and safeguard our little ones. If not, we will have a future generation of scared, rebellious adults.