NEWS this week that a thirteen-year-old mother is the focus of a police investigation is certainly not the kind of beginning one would want to begin a new year, following one in which Saint Lucia recorded more than its fair share of unfortunate events.
That in the supposed period of increased enlightenment children are still being taken advantage of like this is not only beyond criminal, but beyond comprehension. What would possess any man to cause him to have sexual relations with an under-aged child? Have we not seen enough of the after-effects of such actions on our society?
Over the years, children have been facing the brunt of society’s breaking point, so much so that when things become difficult economically in the home, fathers either leave or take out their frustrations on mothers and offsprings. Stepfathers, too, often have the tendency to treat children as second-class, thereby diluting the golden opportunity of being a positive influence in a child’s life. Quite often, abuse results.
In many instances, young girls find refuge in the arms of grown men who, instead of setting clear boundaries in their attempts to provide guidance – which should be done in tandem with and with the child’s parents – cross that fine line that leads down a devastating road. Once that happens, a child’s life is forever adversely affected.
It is really difficult to address such transgressions by simply enacting more stringent laws. In many instances, the perpetrators themselves have no idea to what extent their legal punishment is for engaging in sexual behaviours with under-aged children. As such, the more plausible deterrent might be that of prevention: that parents play a more significant role in their children’s lives.
Granted that many parents have very busy lives that revolve around lengthy working hours, there must be a great deal of emphasis on our children. We must be aware of the signs when our children’s mannerisms change, as well as finding out from them if there are threats being made or suspicious attention being paid by people who make them feel uncomfortable.
In a society where criminals do not seem to respect the law, the onus is on everyone to join hands to protect our collective progeny. We cannot be concerned only about our children and be damned with everyone else’s. Criminals who prey on children are no respecters of how high in society a child’s parents are. Consequently, those high up in society often find it easier to get away with their actions because of the financial strengths and bureaucratic connections.
If our children truly are our most valued resources, we cannot sit by idly and allow their future to be stymied by the callous actions of those who see nothing better to do than to burden our children with children of their own. We need to do what we must to protect our children from woe and harm and give them the best possible opportunity to not only be children but to enter adulthood on a positive note.