Rebuilding the family the only long-term solution to crime and violence

Monday, September 03, 2018

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Dear Editor,

These past weeks have been heart wrenching. Care for country has been indistinguishable from anguish for many Jamaicans. The burnt blood of two girls — 13-year-old Shanoya Wray and 14-year-old Yetanya Francis — pains the hearts of those who allow themselves to be vulnerable enough to pay attention to the news.

You know what I hate the most? In two weeks we will just return to 'normal'. All the uproar will be old news, all the stern short-term measures deflated! Their families will continue to cry for justice, but the nation just moves on, until the next big tragedy. Then we will again cry out for justice, wear black, give money to Crime Stop and say as loudly as we can “They will be brought to justice!”

Of course we want justice! We need justice! But what we need more is an end to situations that demand justice. We need to invest our time, energy and resources into long-term solutions to crime and violence. We need to protect our children. We keep putting band aids on bleeding wounds.

If we fail to address fatherlessness and broken family life in Jamaica, we will find that these debilitating and heart-breaking events will continue to unfold; a monthly memorial of how tragically misguided our efforts against crime have been.

The primary and most essential structure for the protection of children is the family. Stable homes are essential. It is not difficult to imagine a boy, who has been tortured by his mother, becoming a man engulfed by rage against women and girls. Fatherlessness removes the primary protectors and in doing so advances rape.

The US Department of Justice has stated that in the absence of biological fathers, daughters are 900 per cent more vulnerable to sexual abuse and rape. Fatherless children are also 14 times more likely to become rapists. The statistics go on and on.

Martin Henry, in his May 2013 article in The Gleaner headlined 'The cost of absent fathers' put them all on display. Fatherlessness, and broken family life are the well-established roots of violent crime and several other social ills. So why have we failed as a nation to do anything more than acknowledge them? How much longer will we wait, while the vulnerability of our youth and the versatility of our nations predators continually increase?

We need to urgently establish a national task force against fatherlessness and broken family life. Rebuilding the family is the only long-term solution to crime and violence. We must start now! What else will it take?

Dr Daniel Thomas


Love March Movement

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