Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Silent nation

The story headlined “Counselling for pregnant 12-year-old: no sign of suspect, 25” (Express, February 4, Page 5) broke my heart. It’s not difficult, from the accounts of this mother and the two individuals involved, to connect with the deep and very real trauma this entire family is undergoing and will continue to undergo for a long time to come.

Sadly, this reality is all too pre­valent throughout this nation of ours and there are many people who have experienced or are, even now, experiencing permutations of such a situation; who, inundated by feelings of shame and guilt, do not/will not come forward, thus, the real shameless brutes get a free pass by default.

What if every person in this twin-island nation who has ever been the victim of some form of sexual abuse were to speak up and speak out? Can anyone even fathom what a great, big thunderous rumble it would most probably create? Do we even have the support systems to effectively deal with such an avalanche of unmitigated truth? What are the tools needed to topple the “Jericho” walls of silence, rend and remove the deceptive veils of secrecy, expose the deep, festering wounds of violation, trauma and numbing pain of this stained city so that healing can truly begin? Are we aware that without such healing, the vicious cycle is poised to continue its revolution?

When a nation is unable to demon­strate it possesses and is ready to utilise the will, skill and resources necessary to detect and prevent millions of dollars’ worth of drugs from passing through its manned ports or, of catching and prosecuting “known gang leaders”, can we hold any hope of the alleged known 25-year-old culprit in this particular case and indeed the hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of others like him ever being apprehended and brought to justice? Unfortunately, we seem to be stuck in a cycle of reaction, woefully lagging behind in effecting strategies and measures to arrest or reverse trends that continue to take the nation into a downward social spiral.

After years of GATE (Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses) funding and increased access to higher education, our scholars and “experts” still seem unable to, at the very least, recommend and/or develop and/or implement strategies for bringing us closer to the solutions to the many ills that continue to hound us.

The paradox, it seems, as has been coined elsewhere before, is that we have more education but less common sense, more security but less safety...

We are racing to globalise our fancies, focus and face, embracing “all-inclusive” ideologies. We seem to be majoring in scams and schemes that incur the intervention of the formidable CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), yet we seem to have not yet mastered the fundamentals of doing right by each other right here at home.

Trends being set in high places such as questionable conference of higher education degrees, fraudulent and questionable acquisition of high-paying jobs see big pay-offs (or is it buy-outs?) being the only consequence! Is it that we are too preoccupied with trying to gain the whole world by any means neces­sary, while the heart and soul of this beloved nation are being allowed to languish?

Meanwhile, many may collectively or individually lament the dilemma this family faces, but in this one-day wonderland of short attention spans, what will we be doing differently, starting today, so that tomorrow we can write... and read... and share more positive, heart-warming stories?

Debra J Johnson

via e-mail