Wed | Jan 23, 2019

'Shop lock, money done'

Published:Thursday | October 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM


No doubt, children in this country are suffering. And of all things, would you have guessed it's from a lack of sex? But before you narrow your eyebrows, incredulous at this statement, please let me explain. This is a curious situation, indeed, and happens too often. The sad reality is that unless some mothers provide sexual favours, there are some fathers who refuse to support their own children.

Indeed, it is quite a reprehensible thing to blight a child's future any at all, but for a thing such as sex (and your own at that?), to me, is especially despicable. It is a practice I believe warrants our attention, and further, all our efforts to stamp out. This 'if she lock shop, money done' philosophy needs to be vanquished.

Not only is it wrong, but appalling; and we need to eradicate such modes of thinking from our society. Like many of our harmfully ingrained public practices, we first need to have the gall to acknowledge this and then the guts to have it publicly castigated and cut out. For it is clear: some women in Jamaica are forced to accept one of two harsh realities: either meet the demands of these men or else risk their children being deprived certain essentials, one of which may likely be a formal education.

I asked one woman, after she had finished venting about the problem, why hadn't she filed for child support. And to my dismay, her response was that she can't "bother" and that she will leave "him to his own conscience". A most defeatist position if there ever was one, but also, a flawed assessment at that for two reasons: (i) it assumes that the man has a conscience and (ii) it is inevitably the children who will be left as the victims in this whole ordeal. Left doomed and hapless. This is why I urge women suffering such a nightmare to make a bold statement and file for child support.

We have a responsibility, and it is not rocket science. That our children with fewer opportunities and in a state of deprivation may likely (than not) turn to a life of crime, or one riddled with low-slung self-esteem troubles and similarly low-riding morals is probably already evidenced in that syndrome we call bad behaviour. As often, that precursor of the hardened man is the unloved child.

Let's not allow these men to hold the future of these children at ransom, and for a pound of the flesh. If a nation is indeed to be judged by the way it treats its people, then it ought to be painstakingly upbraided for its failure to protect some of its most vulnerable among them: For sure, its children.