Adults who steal childhoods

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A RECENT story in the news told how a well-known Jamaican businessman is to stand trial for allegedly sexually abusing his daughter over a nine-year period. A similar story came out of Jamaica in 2009, when three sisters accused their father of sexually abusing them. In the latter case, when the father heard his daughters were bringing charges against him, he left his well-paid job in America, where he had settled with his family and flew back to his homeland, Jamaica, where the abuse allegedly began.

When one of the three daughters, told her mother about the abuse, her mother answered, ‘it has already happened, what would you like me to do?’ which is the classic case of a mother turning a blind eye. Some women who are unperturbed by sexual abuse may have suffered abuse themselves as children. Others harbour twisted views about their girlchildren’s involvement in the act. But no child would choose to be sexually abused. Child sexual abuse is undeniably the act of a depraved, narcissistic adult.

These mothers refuse to take responsibility for not protecting their daughters in the first place. Then for reasons only known to them, they sit by and allow the abuse to continue, instead of reporting the crime.

Ironically, both the aforementioned cases involve fathers in their 70s and daughters, in their 40s. These cases were being brought to trial decades after the alleged abuse took place. This is a poignant reminder of the lasting effects that sexual abuse can have on a victim. No doubt, the ‘fathers’ had their ‘pleasure’ and thought it was a thing of the past, whereas their daughters are still reliving the trauma of what was done to them and are now, even after so much time, still feeling the need to seek justice.

There’s an adage that goes, who feels it knows it. It is also a phrase made famous in a Bob Marley song, where he goes on to sing that ‘you can’t run away from yourself.’ Many people try to downplay the effects that sexual abuse has on the victim, but only those who have endured it can expound to what extent it has damaged their lives.

Childhood is meant to be about children participating in childish things, not adult things like sex. Children understand the concept of their parents being there to love, nurture and protect them. Therefore, being sexually abused (by anyone, let alone) someone who is meant to protect you; and who you love and look up to, is utterly confusing for a child. And as an adult, it no doubt brings about a variety of emotions, including anger at the remembrance of a childhood that is lost forever, because an innocent child was sexually abused by a selfish fiend.

In the case of the three sisters, people asked them of their father, ‘Why would you want to send him to prison now; the man is old and blind.’ And one sister retorted, ‘I was born with a hole in my heart and I have asthma, but that did not stop him from raping me.’

As you read these lines, no doubt, there are children right here in Guyana who are systematically being sexually abused by adults. Some mothers know of the abuse and turn a blind eye, while others, like the perpetrators, do not see or care about the harm and damage that the abuse is doing now, or the effects it will continue to have on the victims, in the future.

These cases should be a lesson to every adult who feels that child sexual abuse does not have repercussions. These women are living proof that justice can still be served decades after abuse has taken place. They are putting their old decrepit fathers through shame and embarrassment at a time in their lives when they should be ‘throwing back’ and enjoying their twilight years.

But why should these old men have that liberty when it is evident that the trauma suffered at their hands, when these women were girls, has not gone away and vanished into thin air? It is still with them. For them the pain is real.

If you suspect that a child is being sexually abused, please do your duty and report it to the Childcare and Protection Agency. Perpetrators of child sexual abuse are breaking the laws of Guyana and must not be protected.

If you are concerned about the welfare of a child call the Childcare and Protection Hotline on 227 0979 or write to us at childcaregy@gmail.com
A MESSAGE FROM THE CHILDCARE AND PROTECTION AGENCY, MINISTRY OF SOCIAL PROTECTION