Dealing with the issue of Child Abuse in Grenada

I must first state categorically that I am totally against the abuse of our children be it sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse or neglect. Roma Finley started the campaign against child abuse in Grenada approximately 35 to 40 years ago and as a result she was affectionately referred to as “the child abuse lady.”

Prior to that, many people felt that child abuse did not exist in Grenada.

Since her retirement, the issue of child abuse is talked about conveniently. After all these years it seems as though we are just starting. We still don’t have a plan on how to move forward.

I am amazed at the way child abuse is being dealt with these days. Emphasis is placed only on child sexual abuse and it appears as though the other types of abuse do not exist.

Many of our children are also victims of physical abuse, verbal abuse and neglect. The Child Protection Authority, the agency charged with the responsibility of ensuring that our children are cared for and protected is overwhelmed with the number of cases that are reported. So, the question is how do we deal with this problem?

I am amazed at the comments made in the media by child rights activists and many of the media personalities on the issue of sexual abuse against minors. It is time that you stop giving misinformation to the public.

Women are perpetrators too. They are having sexual intercourse with under aged boys. Stop giving the public the impression that it is only men who have sexual intercourse with under aged girls. This is far from the truth.

In this modern society, our girls are sexually abused by lesbians. Besides this, many of our boys are introduced to sexual intercourse by older females. After they are “broken out” into sexual intercourse by these older women they then look for girls within their age group.

In Grenada today many women are in relationships with the older men “sugar daddies” for financial gain and they are using the young boys to satisfy their sexual fantasies. They are buying these boys gifts and take them out to parties while the sugar daddies are home sleeping.

These boys are not reporting because they will be laughed at by their peers. Others feel macho because they are having sexual intercourse with an older, experienced woman. But, according to our laws this is a crime and it should be dealt with. Those who are leading the campaign against child sexual abuse need to condemn it; don’t pretend that it does not exist.

For example, ask the Child Protection Authority, the GNCRC, the media and those Child Rights Activists – why they did not take any action or come to the media and talk about the 35-year old St George’s woman who had a 15-year old school boy living with her in her house as her lover while he was attending one of the secondary school in St George’s. She also gave birth to a child for him.

Where was the media then, sleeping? From my investigation the Child Protection Authority was aware of this. Why was no action taken? There is no statute of limitation on rape so she still could be charged and her name should be on sex offenders register.

The maximum sentence that a perpetrator can receive for rape is 30 years. When men are sent to prison for 5 or even 15 years for having sexual intercourse with girls under 16 years I hear all sort of noise in the media.

Some influential persons are even advocating that bail should not be granted. Some say these men should be sent to prison for life. Others say that the men should be castrated but last year October while we were celebrating child month a St George’s woman was sent to prison for just two (2) years for raping a school boy and taking his $5.00. She will be in prison for only 18 months.

In another nine months she will be released from prison. Up to this time I didn’t hear the Child Protection Authority, GNCRC, Child Rights Activists or even the media make any comment about that. This is one of the reasons why we have not made any progress in curbing the problem.

We are hypocrites. We only want to take action according to who commits the crime. If we have to curb this problem, those who are responsible for leading the campaign must get rid of the hypocrisy and stop being gender bias.

Women sexually abuse boys and girls too. Those in authority must prosecute them.

We should also avoid giving publicity to the negatives. Let the Police and the Court deal with the child molesters. The media should not pay attention to them. Instead, there are many good men in our society who are playing the role of both father and mother. Yes, they are singlehandedly caring for their children and other men children while the mothers of these children are not around.

The media need to promote these men, as well as encourage our boys to emulate these men.

There are men in our society who people laugh at and say they are maintaining “bad child”. Many of them are aware that they are not the father of these children but they will tell you if they stop supporting the children they will suffer. These are the men who need to be emulated.

There are men who are supporting their children financially either voluntarily or through the court but they are denied the opportunity by the mothers to interact with their children. The only medium of forcing the women to allow the men to interact with their children is through the high court and this will cost thousands of dollars.

These are the things the child rights activists need to work on. Advocate for these men. Make it easier for them to interact with their children. Every child need to interact with their father.

On a call-in programme, the issue of raising the age of consent from sixteen (16) years was discussed. The general feeling was that the age of consent should be higher than 16 years to give the children the opportunity to complete their secondary school education.

The Government of Grenada has signed the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child. The convention states that a child is anyone under 18 years, so the Grenada National Coalition on the Rights of the Child should be lobbying the government to ratify the convention and to increase the age of consent to 18 years.

There are parents who prostitute their children for economic gain. These parents should be prosecuted for being accomplices of the crime.

Finally, the school girls who leave their parents home with clothes and go to spend a night or weekend with a man are not foolish. They are very intelligent and are fully aware of what they are doing.
Sending the men to prison alone will not solve the problem. When one man is sent to prison they will go after another man. These girls should be penalised for their action. They should be made to suffer the consequences for their action.

Concerned Parent

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