Editorials

Protecting our children

Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle yesterday revealed to the nation that overall crime was down in the country by 16 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

In fact, murders, though still alarmingly high for a country with a population this small, came in at the lowest number in 15 years.

This was welcome news, though not unexpected, as emergency orders that facilitated lockdowns and an essential police state on many islands during those lockdowns gave police extraordinary powers to aid in the crime fight.

However, underneath the good news lurked something sinister.

Rolle also revealed that sexual offenses were up in 2020.

And not by a small margin.

Rolle said there were 213 reported incidents in 2020, compared to 159 in 2019.

In particular, Rolle pointed to incidents at parties that took place in short-term rentals.

“The investigators have noted a recent trend in sexual offense cases occurring at Airbnb rentals, where parties were hosted,” he said during his annual meet the press at Police Headquarters.

“Additionally, young females were being targeted via social media.”

He added, “We tried to educate young folks about attending parties at these Airbnbs, getting drunk, and then you find some of these scumbags take advantage of them.”

According to the statistics provided by Rolle, there were 158 reports of unlawful sexual intercourse, 50 reports of rape and five reports of attempted rape.

All those categories, with the exception of attempted rape, were up.

Rolle also said the majority of missing person reports last year were adolescent females “engaging in sexual intercourse”.

According to the statistics he presented, there were 100 missing person reports last year.

Of them, 88 required no further action as the people were found safe, Rolle said, and 11 cases are still under investigation.

The increase in rapes is worrisome, as is the growing trend of girls being taken advantage of by perverted men.

Rolle’s characterization of the men who prey on young women, particularly those who are underage, as “scumbags”, is inelegant but apt for such disgusting predators.

Missing from Rolle’s remarks was the number of men who have been charged with abduction of these girls and having unlawful sexual intercourse with them.

It is alarming that despite the penalty for having sex with a child under the age of 14 potentially being life in prison, these predators are still throwing caution to the wind to statutorily rape these girls who, quite frankly, are not mentally developed enough to understand the consequences of their actions.

As research has shown, adults usually make decisions with the parts of their brain that process rational thought and long-term consequences.

Teenagers most usually make decisions with the parts of their brain that process emotion.

This is why it is not possible to gain informed consent from a child, even though the child may look like and try to behave as an adult.

Even teens who are older than 14 are ill-prepared to make these decisions and are also quite vulnerable.

Parents must do more to understand their children’s emotional development and warn them against these predators.

Parents must also more closely monitor their children’s online activity as social media sites have become fertile feeding grounds for sexual predators.

As a society, we must also stop stigmatizing these girls.

We single out the girls because while young boys are preyed upon as well, boys are reported missing far less frequently and society usually tends to share the blame among the victim and the violator in the case of girls, characterizing them as “fast” or “hot”.

Reckless behavior or not, these young girls are victims.

It is not their fault they are being preyed upon.

Adult men must be held to account for this problem.

We cannot have a society where it is the responsibility of children to protect themselves from adults.

It is our responsibility as adults to protect them.

When we stigmatize these girls, we are yet again violating them by robbing them of their right to be children.

As we have said before, this mindset normalizes statutory rape and the sexualizing of girls, and engenders a society where predators find safety in targeting youngsters, and in stripping them of their innocence.

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