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S.O.S.: Save Our St. Vincent

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Editor: The recent spate of violent crimes has baffled us.

Lucky Dube came to this country to commemorate our 25th anniversary of independence; many of his loyal fans left their homes in fear to attend his concert, while others were simply too afraid to leave their homes.{{more}}

We are in the grip of the culture of death and a climate of fear. My own response is to train my killer instinct so as to be prepared to fend off any possible threats to my person or family. Preparing mentally to be twice as ruthless as any attacker.

If what is happening to me is happening to every other Vincentian, it means with every new report, our society is becoming more violent in an effort to survive the violence. We must make a conscious effort to counter the hardness this breeds in our hearts.

I maintain that a major contributor in particular to violence against women is our deteriorating respect for the sex act. Many now see the sex act as a right, many see it as an entertainment, a way to pass time, and still others see it as a means of self-advancement. The sex act involves two people; therefore, if I regard it as a right then necessarily I have a right to have intimate access to other peoples’ bodies. If I regard sex as an entertainment then necessarily others exist for my entertainment.

If I regard sex as a means of self-advancement it follows that others are my stepping-stones and at the same time my own self- worth is diminished. If you see me as a mere entertainment how difficult is it for you to cuss me and bark at me? If it is your right to have access to my body how difficult is it for you to beat me and rape me? If am just your stepping-stone, and additionally you don’t value yourself very highly, will you value me, or will it be easy to betray me and ultimately take my life?

The disintegration of our respect for sex also feeds into a very destructive social cycle. Let me paint a picture: A young man and a young woman, neither of them ready to be parents, neither knowing very much about each other, decide to have sex. A child results. Suddenly it is a possibility that she has been sleeping around and is only trying to “tie up his foot”. Well, “he gone like ah shot”.

Not ready to accept motherhood she struggles alone with this child. Her frustrations are frequently vented on the child. She can’t teach him how to say no. She can’t teach him how to stand his ground without resorting to violent acts. She can’t teach him how to be disciplined and faithful and how to stick out the hardships of life. She can’t teach him how to be a man. She is not so well educated herself. The child does poorly at school. Teachers have the other students and the curriculum to worry about. He comes through the system hardly able to read or write. His mother was read out/ostracized when the church discovered she was pregnant. Feeling betrayed when she needed support she hasn’t been back since. The church never enters the boys’ life except maybe at some street side crusade to tell him he is a worthless sinner. He starts getting into fights and the school kicks him out. On the streets he starts running with the wrong crowd and carrying weapons; he starts getting into serious trouble. All along, members of the wider community can see that there are problems but nobody wants to get involved, “dat is trouble”. He has been failed by motherhood, by fatherhood, by the church, by the education system, and by members of his community. Eventually he becomes one who can’t stay out of prison or worse yet, one whom we hate and fear so much that we just want him dead. We sat by and ignored him. But when he broke into our homes we couldn’t ignore; when he pulled a weapon, stuck it in our faces, try as we might, we could not ignore him.

Couple the above with the influence of popular music and television, which invariably espouse violence in one form or another, and we realize that we have calamity feeding off, carelessness feeding off, ignorance feeding off, lack of love.

Do we support the programmes that try to intervene for troubled youth? Do we demand of our politicians that they bolster the social services sector so that there are more programmes to address the needs of troubled youth before it’s too late? What are we doing to foster respect for each other? We aren’t being careful and we are paying the price.

S.O.S.: Save Our St. Vincent, it is later than we think.