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'Nuh Go Deh' - Eve For Life pleads with older men to stop preying on young girls

Published:Wednesday | September 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

Older men preying on young girls between the ages 13 and 24, impregnating and infecting some with HIV/AIDS, is a cause for concern for the non-governmental organisation Eve For Life.

Making reference to extensive work done in combating sexual abuse since 2012, Patricia Watson, executive director of the organisation, along with other stakeholders, made reference to parishes in western Jamaica where they say this is a problem.

Watson is hoping that the official launch of the 'Nuh Go Deh' campaign in the next two weeks will be an avenue through which citizens can become more involved in the fight against sexual abuse.

The campaign, which will be launched October 11, is a social-consciousness programme aimed at discouraging young men from preying on young girls.

In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, Watson said there is a need for a greater level of consciousness among Jamaicans.

"It must be very traumatic to know that you have sex with an older man and get pregnant, but in addition to that, to find out that you are infected with HIV/AIDS. No one should have to endure that pain," she declared.

'NO CHILD CAN GIVE CONSENT'

"People will go as far as arguing that these young girls are the ones who give consent and throw themselves at the men, and the truth is a large number of females are trained to pursue males with material possessions, but the fact still remains that it is abuse, and no child can give consent," Watson charged.

Watson also pointed out that more work needed to be done, especially in rural parishes.

"When you go into some of these communities, especially in the rural areas, it's almost as if it is an accepted trend because of the poor conditions that exist," she said.

"It became even clearer to us when we started to work in the western end of the island. About 60 per cent of the girls we worked with, their first sexual experience was forced, and these are all HIV-infected," the director told The Gleaner.

Watson is also calling on policymakers to do more to hold adults accountable.

"What this means for the outlook of our country, in general, is that when you have so many young girls encountering these issues, we are foreseeing an uneducated population, which will eventually lead to unemployment," she said.

"Social agencies have to start looking very closely at girls who are infected with HIV and ensure that the response mechanisms deal with the root cause, which, for us, is sexual abuse," Watson charged.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com