DAMAGE CONTROL

48

The article which I wrote last week about the eight-year-old sexually active girl upset some people, especially the members of the Board of the Children’s Home.

I did not intend to offend the Board of the Children’s Home, the members of which I respect deeply not only as exemplary citizens but as caring people who perform voluntary service at this refuge for unfortunate children.

Some of the members of the Board are my good friends who give me strong support in my own work at Project Strong.

I know how hard the Board has worked over the long years to try to preserve the Home. I remember when the Home began, before it began.

There used to be a group of volunteers who called themselves the Service League. I think the movement was inspired by Millie Neverson who was so touched by the poverty and impoverishment of some of the children of Basseterre, that she organized a lunch room where dozens of children went to eat a hot lunch from Monday to Friday.

The boys and girls were drawn from the various schools in Basseterre. Their selection was based on the severity of their needs. Those who were very needy were given free tickets, those who were not so needy paid on penny (two cents).

The lunch room was always full.

I don’t remember exactly when the lunch project ended but it was about the time when the Children’s Home began.

The people behind the effort were middle class black people who found the time to volunteer their service to meet the needs of needy children.

I always remember Myrtle Woods. When I knew her she was retired and lived in a big house in Prickly Pear Alley. She was a charming beggar. As Christmas approached, she traversed the town lighting up its every corner with her smile, as she softly requested donations for the Children’s Home.

The Board of the Children’s Home are the heirs of Myrtle Woods, Millie Neverson and Major Dinzy, and no praise is too great to shower on them for the sterling work which they perform on behalf of the many unfortunate children, who from the time the Home began, have found accommodation within its confines.

The burden of my argument was not to cast aspersions on the work which the Board is doing to help the young people. My concern was the alarming revelation that a girl-child of the age of eight could be found to have been sexually active since the age of five.

This is what carried me away. I am a father of seven daughters and a grandfather of six young girls.

For me it is mind-blowing to imagine any of my female offspring being buckled under some male at the age of 5, indulging in sexual activity. And if any male ever molested any of my daughters or granddaughters in the tender years, abide with me, fast falls the evening tide.

The sexualisation of our pre-teenagers is one of the biggest social crimes imaginable. Can we ever envision what happens to little girls who are sexually molested at a very early age?

One of the things which happens to them is that they become drowned in emotional confusion which words cannot even marginally describe. Suddenly, while they should be playing with dolls they find themselves plunged into this abysmal experience which adult women find difficult to manage.

These young girls learn to keep dark secrets, they become closeted within themselves for a while and when they do emerge from their confusion, they always come out on the wrong side.

They inevitably learn to like having sex at their early age and learn to lie about it. They do it whenever they get the chance, but are ashamed of it and carry the burden of guilt in their developing bosoms.

They display backwardness in their school work and enter the teen years so accustomed to having sex, that they soon become pregnant and threaten the world with unwanted children which society might have to help to raise.

By the time they get the first child, the problem which faces our society becomes not just teenage sexuality but teenage promiscuity. When the malady does come to the light of the public, the female has plummeted down the steep slopes of sexual addiction, infidelity and prostitution. And people who knew them when they were small wonder out loud how they ever reached to that sordid end.

Young Kim is a classic case of a potentially bright child who would normally be striving for the school’s honor roll. Instead she is so preoccupied with sex that at her early age, she casually announces one day to her classmates, in the impolite language of a woman on the street, that right now she could take (some sex).

The introduction of sexuality to little girls is not a good thing for our society. It saddles the victims with prematurity and robs our society of good women.

Good women are a great asset to our social development. We need them as mothers, teachers and youth leaders. If they are force-ripened, they would be of little use to the growth aspirations of our society.

We as a society must safeguard our little girls from premature sexuality. We must do this for the future safety and well being of our society.

This is why I am alarmed and outraged. The very thought of little girls starting out life on this wrong foot makes me lose sight of those who struggle gallantly against the oods of juvenile deviancy.

I empathise with the good members of the Board of the Children’s Home and hope that they will overcome the many obstacles which impede them as they strive against the dangers which face the youth in their charge.