Tue | Jan 25, 2022

Outrage as second St Ann child buggered

Published:Tuesday | May 4, 2021 | 12:28 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer

As two cases of violent sexual assault on minors spoil the start of Child Month in St Ann, parish leaders have expressed outrage, calling for greater protection of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

In the first instance, the police reported that last Monday, a 13-year-old girl had gone to stay with her grandmother in a section of the parish as her mother was going to work. When she got to the house, her grandmother was not there.

She decided to go to a nearby shop and was walking through a shortcut when a man known to her pulled her into an unfinished house, where he buggered her.

While this was happening, four other men came and took turns with her.

The five suspects have been apprehended and are being questioned by the police.

News of the second incident broke on Sunday, when the police reported that a mother was bathing her five-year-old son, when he complained of his anus hurting him.

When the mother checked, she saw cuts and bruises.

When she enquired of him what had happened, he reportedly told her that he had followed a neighbour to their hog pen, and while there, the neighbour assaulted him.

The suspect has since been taken into custody.

“It is a difficult and sad time for us in Jamaica,” Custos Norma Walters said. “We are supposed to be celebrating Child Month and we are saddened by the recent events to our children. We are outraged when we think of what has been happening to them recently. I call on all of us, as Jamaicans, never to feel guilty about expressing our outrage.”

Vana Taylor, president of the St Ann Chamber of Commerce, expressed sadness as she, too, condemned the abuse.

“Of course, we’re very saddened by the news. Our children are precious and they’re God’s children, so we should respect them and allow them to grow up as children,” she told The Gleaner.

Taylor suggested that help be provided, not just for the victims, but also for the perpetrators.

“These persons really must need help, must be needing mental treatment for them to be able to commit these acts. So, we’re begging for help for them and mercy from the Lord ... ,” said Taylor.

Reverend Jonathan Hemmings, pastor of the Ocho Rios Baptist Church, has also strongly condemned the attacks on the children.

“The regularity and brutality with which our women and children are being assaulted must be of serious concern to all who are of a sober mind. Here, in the parish St Ann, these reports seem to be coming fast and furious and it’s nothing less than infuriating,” Hemmings said. “Such behaviour should not be a part of any decent and civilised communal existence.”

Hemmings said all stakeholders must put aside personal and special interests to eliminate violence and abuse.

“Those to whom we look for leadership, be they in the religious, political, educational, legal, to name but a few spheres of influence, cannot be seen as perpetrators of, nor equivocate on the issue of gender-based violence,” he said, pointing to a recent case of abuse captured on video which has sparked outrage.

The suspects remain in custody and are expected to be questioned by the police later this week.