The Poverty factor
In the tourist industry across the so called “third World”, the confluence of poverty and sex trade is an intersection that give rise to drugs abuse, child abuse, heterosexual and homosexual pedophilia. Children working on the street are a particularly vulnerable group to prostitution. These children lack family and social support, and small boys between the ages of 6 and 17 years are the most exploited. Lacking the protection of adult family members or institutional environment for positive supports, these vulnerable and poor children, mainly school dropouts, are exposed to extreme economic deprivation and abuse.
Homosexual adult are the main clients of these young boys, although some of the adolescents’ prostitutes are females. The inability of these boys to meet certain basic needs because of a lack of financial opportunities has created a desperation that severely reduces their ability to bargain with adult clients. The adults then exploit this needs and dependency by coercing some boys into sexual activities. Reports of boys engaging in sexual intercourse in exchange for a basic meal of a patty and a box drink are common. The real risks of physical violence from their peers on the streets and other adults become high due to Jamaica’s strong dislike for homosexual culture. Teenage and pre-teen homosexual activities are kept under cover, thus making them invisible to other children involved in prostitution and make them less accessible for rehabilitation and support.
In Jamaica, a new type of prostitution phenomenon called the “toy boy”, has emerged. Schoolboys are enticed by gifts and other monetary rewards from older women for sexual pleasures. These women sometimes pick up the boys at school on Friday afternoons and keep them for the entire weekend while engaging them in various types of sexual activities, then taking them back to school on Monday mornings. The boys are showered with expensive gifts of jewellery, brand name sneakers and expensive clothes. They are sometimes taken to the North Coast for vacation. This practice occurs with boys who are less supervised at home or living on their own while one or both parents have migrated. Sometimes this behaviour even happens in homes where both parents are present. The parents are aware of these dalliances and are even accepting of it. Others are completely unaware of what is happening because of the ingenious methods that the boys employ to cover their tracks.
Although often hidden and frequently denied by political and community leaders, men sell sex to other men in Jamaica just like many other countries. Young men and boys are more likely to be involved in sex work than older males for a variety of reasons. While money is usually the driving force, some young men, particularly in cultures where sex between men is strongly abhorred, sell sex because that is the only way they can find survive. The younger the male sex worker is, the less he is to be able to protect himself a variety of abuses including sexual y transmitted disease. The lure of payment, physical or emotional force from the client, or the craving for a drug, which the money will buy, can force young men to agree to sex without a condom. Older more experienced sex workers are likely to have the confidence and assertiveness to negotiate safer sex.
Due to the prevalence of homosexual activity as a matter of survival on the Island, these boys become sexually abused as homosexual males, in straight guise pick up the boys in expensive automobiles. As usual, the establishment and the Jamaica Constabulary Force claimed to have no report of these incidents. In Jamaica, the modern prostitute are no longer only female, as there are a growing number of men and children who have either worked their way in, or forced into the sex work industry. The reality in the Jamaican society is that children have been encouraged or forced by their parents to sell their bodies for money and favours. Many Jamaican women, for years have been content with the understanding that their teenaged daughters are sexually involved with mature men, old enough to be their fathers, in exchange for taking care of the family. In fact the well known secret is that a majority of the teenaged mothers are impregnated by adult males, old enough to be their grandfathers. What is not known is that there are Jamaican women who will send their daughters and sons out nightly to prostitute themselves and take home the money. Many of these children are not allowed back into the home unless a certain amount of money is made nightly.
Too many of these children, some of them boys, have to sell their bodies to adult males in order for their families to survive. These boys perform sexual acts with these predators who take advantage of them without paying. They end up being exposed to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI), because they admit to not use condoms, a practice the adult predators seldom don’t do. The result of all these forced prostitution creates severe emotional and psychological problems for the youth due to careless parenting and caregivers who have become pimps instead of providers.
Incest and Rape in Jamaica
From the Jamaican Observor
Centre for reproductive law comes out with 2001 study of sexual abuse against Jamaican women.
Infant incest! Four-month-old molested – Medical reveals damage to baby’s private parts
By O’Brien Dennis
Published Mar 30, 2005
I don’t understand the dynamics of homosexuality and frankly I don’t care what two consenting adult males do in private. I am however concerned about a man taking advantage of an innocent child and taking his mind into a state of sexual confusion. Male rape is not remote to any one social culture, it spans across all cultural, economical and religious lines and it is a crime against humanity that affects all of us.Sexual abuse is all about power. It is when a person in authority forces you to perform sexual acts for him or her. Sexual abuse goes far beyond penal intrusion; it may range from the use of explicit pictures and language, to kissing and touching. It is a violation of your mind and body and it is something used to keep you in a continued state of vulnerability.On the tiny island of Jamaica and to a greater extent, cultures within the African Diaspora, victims of male sexual abuse are considered homosexuals. This is a myth. A sexual act of violence can not make a child or a grown man a homosexual. When an adult threatens, seduces you or forces you to commit sexual acts it does not mean you are a homosexual. Even if you were aroused or helped him in the process, it was still not your fault. You never had a choice in being abused.As a child growing up in Jamaica I yearned constantly for an adult male to come public about being sexually abused as a child. It wasn’t until I journeyed to the United States that I met upon grown Jamaican men who have fled Jamaica and are now candid about childhood sexual abuse. It is difficult for males in general to talk about sexual abuse because of the stigma attached to the sexual act. You believe at times that you are alone but the truth is you are not. You feel weak and defenseless each time you think about the abuse. Talking about male sexually abused gives you the individual strength and it helps you to realize that it was not your fault. It also encourages others to speak up and renew their strength.
Male sexual abuse in Jamaica unfortunately is not on the decline; it is gradually increasing and grossly under-reported. Jamaica’s cultural values, which include religion, music and our political framework has been a major deterrent in forcing young boys and men to be silent about sexual abuse. Society has narrowly defined masculinity and expects its boys to be fearless, strong, always in control and defenders. It becomes threatening at times for boys and men within society to display supposedly feminine qualities. To be a man and to be masculine is an ongoing process of growth which last until death. Most young men who have been sexually abused question their masculinity.
What abuse does is to steal your authentic self and bring you in a state of confusion, fear, anger and denial. Who is a man? Slavery has robbed Jamaica of its men and many young boys grow up fatherless or without a male figure. Men do cry. Men do feel hurt. Men do feel weak at times. It is the notion of false masculinity and gender roles that confuse children about who a man is and what it means to be masculine. It is inner strength for a man to show emotion and to express his inner self rather than unleashing his built-up anger in a negative way. Untapped emotions are dangerous for men as it sometimes forces them in a bar-less prison. Boys who were sexually abused have indirectly been taught to not trust men and to be afraid of men.
Sexual violation has long been used as a method of emasculation. Two of the most common reasons males don’t report abuses are that they fear to be seen as weak and at worst a homosexual. Sexual abuse has no correlation with sexual orientation. Homophobia has forced many young men to shake the abuse off, keep it to themselves buried in a pile of expectation and denial. Denial at times forces some of these men to numb their pain by engaging in homosexual activities out of sexual confusion and thus resulting in some men being bisexual.
Engaging in homosexual activities as a result of sexual abuse does not make a man gay or bisexual. Labels concerning sexual orientation have a very interesting dynamics to them as to be a homosexual far exceeds the sexual act. Most sexual abusers are male and do consider themselves to be heterosexuals.
It is imperative for us as a society to acknowledge male sexual abuse. Men work twice as hard as women to hide sexual abuse. I have spoken to too many men who have internalized sexual abuse. Men sometimes find relief by sedating themselves with alcohol or drugs or they become physically abusive or turn to sexual violence. Boys rarely talk about abuse and as a society we have a responsibility to our children to talk to them about sexuality and appropriate touch. Most offenders are not strangers and over 80% of offenders are known to the child.
Cries of Men: Voices of Jamaican Men Who Have Been Raped and Sexually Abused
by O’Brien Denni
Sexual abuse of girls and women
published: Wednesday | March 12, 2008
A few weeks ago, I was exposed to the email mentioned in a Gleaner article with attached material showing intercourse between students at a high school. I was shocked and sickened by the parts of the email that I saw.
As a physician and, in particular a gynaecologist, a few issues came to mind. One such was the psychological make up of the young lady who would agree to have sex in such a public place whether or not she knew that the event was filmed, and the young boy, was he also a victim himself or a sexual offender. Could they both be victims of sexual abuse or some other form of childhood abuse?
I recall during my first year in private practice in Jamaica, a young lady came into my office; she was under 18 years and she reported that she was a victim of childhood sexual abuse from her stepfather. She had no confidence in the group homes for such victims because she believed that it was worse than her present situation. She wanted me to help. I made inquires and suggested an alternative facility. I must admit I felt powerless to help her. However, it is clear that we all need to continue to try our best to decrease these offences and improve the long-term prognosis of these children.
Childhood sexual abuse affects about one per cent of children in the United States every year and it is a very prevalent condition in Jamaica. Unfortunately, at this time, our prevalence data is not available but with mandatory reporting this is likely to change in the near future. Available data suggest that men are the abusers most of the times. Up to half of the abusers of girls are family members and adolescents are the offenders in more than 20 per cent of cases.
Obscene telephone calls
Some teenage sex offenders use the telephone to make obscene calls. – File
Adolescent sexual offenders are teenagers between the ages of 13-17 who perform illegal sexual behaviour, including intercourse or acts such as even obscene telephone calls. They are more likely to be male than female and the victims are more likely to be females. The cause of this behaviour is unknown but children who are physically abused are more likely to exhibit this behaviour. Other associated factors include alcohol or other drug abuse, family difficulties, a history of sexual abuse and exposure to pornographic material.
Victims of sexual abuse are more likely to become promiscuous and have thoughtless sexual acts. The younger that a girl starts having consensual sex, the more likely it is that she had been forced to have sex in the first instance. Some health conditions in adult women can be linked to a history of childhood sexual abuse. These include chronic pelvic (belly bottom) pain, certain eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, depression and anxiety. It can also have a very negative effect on a woman’s self esteem. It addition, it may affect her ability to form normal, healthy adult relationships.
If a parent is concerned that their daughter is being sexually abused or is sexually active they should consider taking her to the doctor for evaluation. Unfortunately, a physical exam does not always confirm sexual abuse even in young girls. However, the visit may facilitate counselling and testing for sexual transmitted infections. If she is an older girl, the consultation may help to clarify whether she considered the act consensual or rape. In Jamaica, it is illegal for anyone to have sex with a girl who is under the age of 16.
If a woman is suffering because she had been abused in the past she should consult her doctor or church to assist in getting the appropriate counselling.
Dr Monique Rainford is a consulting obstetrician and gynaecologist; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Queen Ifrica – Daddy
I know this is only a blog, but as I write, i get more information than I barganed for and have enough materials for an extention of this article. However, the issue of sexual abuse in Jamaica, in general, and child sex abuse in particular is a troubling one and does have a seriously negative effect on the culture and the legacy of Jamaica. I am sure many of you know of other African people- not just Jamaicans- who have been abused in this fashion.
Perhaps you have been yourself. How do you or are you coping with it. i have created a blog for survivors of sexual abuse to post anonymously if they want, to share their experience with others and perhaps get some healing . click here to view it start sharing.