‘Family rams’ - Paedophilia in the homes a long-running problem
The increase in the reported cases of sexual abuse of children is no surprise to child-protection specialist Rose Robinson-Hall, who has argued that this is a long-standing issue that is just now being given the attention it deserves.
"We have always had a problem, hence the term 'family ram', where family members were the main the perpetrators of sexual abuse," said Robinson-Hall.
"My experience working with child victims of abuse and visiting communities to visit these victims is that our society has become hyper sexualised and we have a higher level of tolerance. It is in our music, it is in the way we dress. There is very little that is private. And based on my experience, parents also seem to feel that they (children) might as well learn it now."
Peta-Anne Baker, coordinator of the Social Work Programme at the University of the West Indies, Mona, though agreeing that child abuse is not a new problem, believes it has worsened with the advancement in technology and the breakdown of values within our society.
"When we discuss the issue of child abuse, we need to take into consideration the impact of the communications revolution, changing cultural values about what is a 'proper' topic of conversation, in supporting the disclosure of these incidents," said Baker.
"We now have a language to describe what children, mainly females, but some males, have encountered for centuries. Link it also to our attitudes towards those who lack power and voice. they exist as objects of our benevolence or abuse. When they speak up they are sometimes abused again and called disrespectful or ungrateful."