Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Abused children need more than pity

Published:Wednesday | March 11, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Some heartbreaking stories concerning children have come to light in the media in the last couple of weeks. The instances of apparent sexual abuse and the cruel lengths to which people go to cover up their heinous acts have attracted the pity of many.

A vulnerable primary or high-school child doesn't know real danger. I'm no psychologist, but I can comprehend why the attention of an adult male and his advances would be enticing to a young girl. You hear horror stories of a child feeling special because a strange man buys her fried chicken and gives her the occasional pocket money, and the interaction descends into a sick sexual relationship between the two.

All too quickly, outsiders judge and say, "The lickle pickney bad, bout she a keep man," and whispers abound about her sullied reputation. Let's not forget that above all, she is still a lickle pickney. And some reprobate men lurk in our country 'keeping lickle pickney'. In their sleazy minds, their sexual predation on innocent children is a satisfying relationship.

My blood boiled when I read this quote in Saturday's Gleaner: "She was pregnant. That is why them kill her; and is long time people know what going on ... .

"At one point, when people start talk things, one of them (accused men) said that before him name call up in any pregnancy, somebody is going to die. And see it deh, dem kill har!" And the whole community sees the end result: A dead pregnant 14-year-old, followed by regret and pity.


Useless pity


I take offence with people who feel pity. Pity never changed the world. Pity is a passive emotion for cowards. People with no intention of making a difference feel pity and do nothing to fix the thing that motivated the pity.

So what? What now?

Having seen the wailing mothers on TV and hearing all the could-have, should-have stories, what now? Do we, as passive pity-filled people, simply sit by and empathise? Simply say, "Oh, gosh! What a wicked act!" and vigorously shake our heads in disapproval? Who does that help?

While I welcome marches and prayer breakfasts and political press releases of condemnation, I am even more interested in practical attacks on the attackers. Yes, a national priority must be placed on the safety and protection of our children, but the atrocities committed in front of blind eyes are very localised.

The children we fail go to church, and school, and have neighbours, and little friends that they boast to about their 'big man' boyfriend. Someone knows. Someone knows and feels pity, perhaps whispers in the community, but chooses to do nothing. Until it is too late.

We all have a responsibility to speak out and speak up. Stop minding your own business!


Abuse is our concern


Every abuse meted out to those children is all our business, and until we see past the pity and the 'bad pickney' mentality, children will continue to be hurt at the expense of the pleasure of perverts.

It takes a village to raise a child. Where has the village gone?

Replace pity with proactiveness and downright 'faas' when it comes to our children. The misfortune of others should move you to do something about it. If all you're going to do is feel sorry, you're of no help.

Shame on people who see and turn a blind eye! Shame on neighbours who suspect and use the story as just another piece of gossip! Shame on mothers who tolerate the sordid relationship because it lessens their financial burden! Shame on absent fathers who aren't around to protect their children from savage predators!

We all have a responsibility to protect the innocence of our young. Do more than just feel pity. Do something.

- Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to and, or tweet @findpatria.