Boys and men are also targets
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Former Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine yesterday insisted that a focus must be placed on protecting young boys as well as young girls as officials record an uptick in child abuse cases in Grand Bahama.
His comments come amidst growing conversations regarding the protection of women and children after a 40-year-old man was recently sentenced to four years for impregnating a 14-year-old girl.
“We are at a level now where we need to give consideration to our laws as to how we can improve them and better them and we need to look at stiffer penalties,” McAlpine told Eyewitness News.
“We really need to look at our society on the whole, because I think part of our social makeup has been in disarray for some time and we need to find a way to somehow combat and deal with the many social ills within our society, which has contributed to domestic violence and also child abuse.”
He insisted that parents must be held accountable to keep their children safe as well as educate them on what to look out for and avoid being abused by older men and women.
“Often when we talk about this we only tend to put the emphasis on the little girls and the women who have been violated by sexual abuse and violence, but there are also young boys and young men who are also experiencing this and they seem to get very little attention in that regard.”
McAlpine noted that while the advocate groups do highlight gender-based violence against women, “There are men who are being abused in this society and there are boys who are being abused in this society, and what is good for the goose is good for the gander.”
He continued “Just how we put emphasis on equality this is a part of the equality. That there are young boys who are being molested by men and women and they don’t seem to be played up in the media as much as if it’s a girl or young woman or woman in that matter.”
Child abuse cases in Grand Bahama are on par or have already superseded last year’s annual figures recorded by the Department of Social Services.
The data was reportedly shared at a church service to mark “Child Protection Month” at Calvary Bible Church yesterday, and included in a press release by Bahamas Information Services.
In 2020, the number of cases reported was: 22 physical abuse, 11 sexual abuse, and 26 cases of neglect.
In 2021, there were 34 cases of physical abuse, 16 sexual abuse, and 39 cases of child neglect.
In the first four months of this year, the reported cases include one abandonment, 32 physical abuse, 14 sexual abuse, and 41 cases of neglect.