TONI THORNE: Fathers need to take responsibility
I HAVE READ comments about the many mothers with numerous children and their public pleas for assistance from Barbadians.
Some were sympathetic and others were harsh.
“Some ah dem is sixtuplets?” “She ain know about condoms?” were some of the comments I read in status updates on Facebook after the story was published on Fridayof a 38-year-old woman with12 children.
This story went viral and evoked many comments from Barbadians.
Many people seemed to think that some women are reckless and then force their “irresponsibility” on the hundreds of thousands of taxpayers.
I believe that children are a blessing. This belief is coupled with the fact that I support contraception in all of its forms. Although I am pro-life to a significant degree, I do believe that women have the right to do with their bodies what they wish to do once it does not affect other people.
When I stated the latter belief, a colleague sternly said such mothers’ actions were affecting other people and that abortion may have been the responsible thing to do. A Christian colleague disagreed but stated that adoption would have been preferable.
One glance at the published article’s comments’ section would show all of the various opinions and ideologies.
However, the purpose of this article is not to excuse the behaviours of such mothers, as I was told I was doing.
It is to question men involved in such situations and to make a case for the children.
My first question upon reading the article was: “Where are the fathers?” I find it interesting how so many Barbadians bashed the mother and failed to take the fathers to task. The fact that so many women are in these types of positions leads me to believe that many of their children are “fatherless” – there is a significant absence of the father in the children’s lives.
It is unfortunate that the Bar Association sent a memo to its members not to take anymore legal aid certificates due to so much money being owed to lawyers for the last two years. I do believe, however, that there may still be a few lawyers who may not be frustrated and pursue the case of these mothers. Given the aforementioned, the possibility for legal aid for such instances is slim. In any case, legal recourse should always be the final option.
Twelve children’s well-being is at stake.
The fathers of these children have possibly failed in the instances. A woman cannot produce children on her own. I remember being in a sexual education session and educated, professional women were laughed at after citing “pulling out” as their method of contraception. Many of us (of all classes and creeds) are unaware when it comes to basic sexual health practices.
I want to ask fellow Barbadians to focus less on bashing such mothers. Ridiculing is not an effective method. You cannot shame someone into improving their life. We need more education as it relates to sexual health. We need to put just as much responsibility on fathers as we do with these mothers. We women need to take more responsibility for our lives and understand the implications of sexual health.
If one can get pregnant, one is also putting oneself at the risk of contracting an STD because it means the sex was unprotected. In conclusion and most important, when we attempt to post statuses with all of our better-than-thou mentalities, pause for a second prior to doing so and seriously ask how we can truly help the children.
Children do not ask to be brought into the world.
They should not have to suffer.
Toni Thorne is a young entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Global Shaper who loves global youth culture, a great debate and living in paradise. Email: [email protected]