Culture or crime?
THE EDITOR, Sir:
In 1977, I picked up a 15-year-old schoolgirl I knew, who was walking home from school to her settlement home at the top of the hill. As we neared the gate where two old men lived, she rolled up the car window and bent down towards the floor. She didn't want the 60-odd-year-old brothers to see her and they might have been outside.
They were retired business-men who lived and worked in that big house. She told me her mother had negotiated with them and they had already paid $6,000 for her virginity. She wanted to run away, but she had no place to go.
I asked the mother about it and she wondered where I came from, that I didn't know that we were dealing with tradition and culture. She explained that her daughter would be treated well by these decent men who had bargained to send her to further her education and help out the family. She told me the old married man who took her virginity gave money to her mother and helped her brothers. "She have to go for is so tings run".
From the reports of child abuse and murders, the older men who were accustomed to having their way by tradition or culture, are now being cornered. The guidance counsellors and children's agencies are on the warpath and the children are talking. They no longer 'suffer in silence'.
A father recently saw the email a teacher was sending his son and he took action. The frightened paedophile is now confused because what used to be culture is indeed crime. The scheming mothers now know they can be arrested.
Is selling our children in this way culture or crime?