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Gayle fires back - Researcher defends claim about abusive mothers

Published:Friday | November 20, 2015 | 12:00 AMCorey Robinson

Social anthropologist Dr Herbert Gayle has hit back at critics of his claim that mothers are pushing their boys into a life of crime by the cruel punishment they sometimes administer.

According to Gayle, those dismissing his claim are "living in denial".

"Last week I was called a misogynist for stating something clean and clear. I was called a misogynist because I said the core nurturer, the mother, must also be examined. Some persons got into the spirit. Oh my God!" said Gayle.

"But something must be wrong with a group of us who simply wish to deny data from being published. That is a tragedy," added Gayle during an animated presentation at last Thursday's Philosophy Day put on by the Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

During a recent Gleaner Editors' Forum, Gayle pointed to extreme disciplinary methods by some mothers as one of the factors that push boys into a life a crime.

He argued that child abuse is too commonly accepted in Jamaica, and that boys who are repeatedly exposed to abuse are more likely to be influenced by gangsters and 'dons'.

Gayle based his arguments on what he said was 20 years of international research.




"Human beings who get caught up in gangs are actually trying to do something for themselves and their families, and that is precisely why persons like me will trouble the family.

"We have to get back to family if we are going to try to solve any of these problems," said Gayle as he reminded the audience that since 2000, Jamaica has been ranked the third deadliest country in the world, based on its per capita murder rate.

According to Gayle, the international community is being nice to Jamaica for regarding it as one of the "sexiest" countries despite its drastic crime situation.

"Sometimes you see international data on Jamaica and people say that the data is harsh when that is really not true. When you pull the data it is often a little bit worse," added Gayle, who has been studying violence internationally for the past two decades.