Have we forgotten the children?
THE EDITOR, Sir: Now that the dust has seemingly settled in the aftermath of the unfortunately controversial JFJ-led programme in the children's homes, may we return to the reality of these forgotten and often-rejected children?
The Gleaner of Thursday, November 6 carries a report captioned 'No more sex-ed at children's homes, says director'. Thanks to Corey Robinson. But who will listen to the heartfelt pain of Sister Susan Frazer, director of St John Bosco and Alpha Boys' Home?
Too often, in our beloved Jamaica, we get carried away with the drama of condemnation, especially when it involves sex. It has come to this, that according to The Gleaner, Sr Susan, in response to whether there will be any more sex-ed programmes, said, "There will not be any, as far as I am concerned ... . I don't do anything right now. Anybody calls and wants to do something with the children, I say, 'No, go to the Ministry (of Youth) and ask the minister's permission. I am not stepping out on any limb."
I wonder if we are sufficiently embarrassed that a veteran of childcare and advocacy has now been crippled, so to speak! I wonder if all those who got excited in the euphoria of moralising paragons of virtue now see who the real victims are.
Where were you when the Sisters of Mercy and persons like Sr Susan were giving the past 40 years to abandoned, rejected, condemned children? Where are you when children are being molested even in children's homes? Where are you when adults from surrounding communities are making sexual advances to children from these homes? Where are you when little girls and boys are building their repertoire of hardcore sex acts with adults?
As you read this, right now, there is a child somewhere in Jamaica who is being penetrated - whether vaginally or anally! If not now then, sometime in the past 24 hours, or the next, this is reality.
Preventing children from being equipped with information concerning themselves as sexual beings will certainly accomplish the following:
1. Provide the electorate with a false sense that our little ones are being protected from sexual exposure, especially of a same-sex nature.
2. Prevent persons like Sr Susan from doing what they have done well - making sensitive decisions on the children's behalf - while attending to their care and nurture.
3. Ensure that children who are involved in sexual activity do so without knowing their right to refuse and to report.
4. Ensure the spread of sexually transmitted infections among the juvenile population!
5. Prevent children from knowing how to negotiate with a potential abuser.
Even where children may engage in childhood experimentation, they ought to know what to expect, along with any possible consequences. The subject of sex education ought to be demystified! If any sex act is going to take place, how might I be protected?
The daily reality of caring for these forgotten children continues. Meanwhile, those who benefited from the hype are on to other hype opportunities. The children are still being denied information that is vital to their very existence and future. Human rights continue to be a casualty of crass decisions.
Is this how the drama ends? Jamaica, is this really what we want for our children? Is there a naysayer with a change of heart? Who will speak realistically for Jamaica's children?