12 Years a Mother

The day dawns, a 12 year old child sits on the edge of her bed.

The sun shines warmly outside, her mother walks into the room and sits beside her. She stares at the ceiling and touches her stomach. There is no sign of the life growing inside her, no sign of her pregnancy. Why is the ceiling so misty? She thinks, oh the tears are back. There were so many last time. She tries to hold them back, a fruitless battle but she fights on. A gentle hand cups her face, her mother’s hands reach for her and the tears finally break free….

Image: huffingtonpost.com

This is the image that comes to mind when I think of young *Alicia when I read her story, a child molested by two of her relatives. At a time when other children her age are frolicking and preparing for GSAT exams, Alicia is preparing for her role as a soon to be mother.

The prevalence of older men having sex with young girls is frightening. It becomes downright terrifying when one realizes the casual and even nonchalant attitude that is given to it by general public. Jamaica’s teen pregnancy rate is the fourth highest in the region despite gains in lowering the fertility rate among the demographic, according to the 2013 State of the World Population Report which turns the spotlight on girls who become mothers before their 18th birthday.

The true horror of this story however is the statement given by the police in regards to arresting the accused. In a statement to the Jamaica Gleaner, officers say they have refrained from arresting Alicia’s cousin because his foot was amputated a few weeks ago and the other ‘only visits in the wee hours of the morning.’ A man who has committed such a travesty, which has ruined the life of this young girl is allowed to prowl the streets and even plan his escape as there is no mention that a police guard has been placed on him while the other cannot be arrested because it is too early in the morning to fetch him. It is a sad day when the excuse to arrest this filth is as flimsy as this and there is no outcry. A march against homosexuality brought out almost 20,000, yet there is almost a deafening silence for this wickedness.

I am not an emotional person yet reading the story of Alicia had me afraid and disillusioned for my people and especially our girls. I grew up in a house of women and the thought of this happening made me fearful of what the world holds for every female. Our society is one where our women are the engine that drives this country yet the basic act of human decency, kindness and safety has become a fading light for them as the heart of their fellow man grows colder.

*names changed to protect identities

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