Girls made of spice and what’s nice?

Young girls are forced to internalize . . . , to walk around the place with hidden injuries. To grow up as dysfunctional adults and, of course, to create problems for themselves and any children they might have as a result of problems that they had when they were children as well.

–– Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in the House of Assembly on Tuesday expressing concern for the number of Barbadian girls who are victims of domestic and sexual abuse, many of whom end up at the Government Industrial School.

There is little doubt that many of our young girls are living in strained and intractable conditions that sometimes force them unwarily into more untenable quarters, and ultimately on to our streets. It is a circumstance that deserves and demands more than stoic observation; and as such we would hope to see Prime Minister Stuart initiating some task force, with the involvement of the women’s groups of Barbados and the blessing of and respect from MESA.

It is not unknown for young girls to suffer sexual abuse and indignity at the hands of older brassy, barefaced, familial brutes –– in particular, the spouses of their mothers, who make for insidiously corrupt stepfathers. And the greater tragedy is that much of the time the victim must forego justice on account of public shame, or, worse yet, through collusion for fear of loss of financial support of the home.
In this present period of Government –– and possibly national –– job retrenchment, it is not remotely challenging to imagine the more active minefields which the unscrupulous in our midst would present our young girls –– and their mothers –– to dangerously negotiate or manoeuvre, as the alternative to being content to submit to racy and lurid conditions for their “protection” and survival.

“Too many of our otherwise promising young female citizens,” says the Prime Minister, “are being damaged by this kind of very
irresponsible conduct.”

We add criminal, scandalous and immoral behaviour.

Mr Stuart has said he knows of young lives ruined by this callousness; of “little girls” written off as deviant, because they were unable to give their narrative, or if indeed they had presented it, it was “not sufficiently probed and understood”. We anticipate that national leader and legal mind that he is, the Prime Minister will be forward in the recovery and redemption of these weary young souls.

It is agonizing and distressing reflecting upon the images of an angelic baby girl morphed over a short time into a brat, imp or gremlin –– for the greater part through no premeditated plan or design of her own.

Which brings us to an attendant component of this whole misery; and again raised by Mr Stuart: the choice of partners of mothers. The Prime Minister would have our women be “more careful” with whom they hook up.

It has been said some women are bedazzled by the “bad boy” type, who seems to offer a magnetic aura of protection and defence. No one dares molest or attack his woman. The problem is when he himself becomes violent with his partner, no one dares come to her rescue either.
So that while the woman’s friends see her relationship as unhealthy, there is not much personally they can do to get her out of the alliance, barring getting the police to intervene –– and the woman is likely to hate them for it. Further, she will give the police no evidence anyway.

A young daughter in such a liasion of her mother’s is in physical danger herself –– certainly psychological –– and may be doomed to complicity, or destined for the streets.

It will happen, once that mother, though knowing deep down inside that the savage beast of a man is not right for her, makes justifications and excuses over and over. And why would something like this occur?

Some psychologists say that the more this type of woman invests in this kind of relationship, the more vested she becomes. When she doesn’t get the love and attention she wants, it may seem natural –– and, apparently, wise –– to give more. She invests more, only to find herself again and again disappointed and depleted –– eventually feeling insignificant and of low self-esteem, by which time her soul has now become immune to the sharp pain.

It is a recipe for self-rejection, self-loathing, little self-content, and a heart of angst, which will be all passed on, unwittingly or ignorantly, to a little girl –– who wanted nothing more than a mother’s love –– which will almost certainly make for a family history and culture of wrong choice.

Add to this the influence of fairy tales: a child believing in the living happily ever after, no matter what –– like Mum!

That’s it, really. A failed fairy tale!

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