I am frightened since all of the child rapes have come to the attention of the public. I dont understand how anyone can do this to children. How do I know it wont happen to my children? What can I do to protect them?
Frightened in Fredenhoj
I share your dismay. The people who prey on children are really very sick themselves. Often, they, too, were the victims of child sexual abuse when they were young. They are often unable to have relationships with adults successfully, and often seek a relationship in which they can dominate and be in control. Children serve this purpose for them. Without help they will continue this behavior, even if they serve a prison sentence. Even with help, the probability of change is not great, but without psychological intervention, it is almost certain that their behavior will not change once they are released.
There are several things you can do for your child(ren) and your community. First, you can insist that monies be found for programs to help victims as well as perpetrators. This is long term, expensive work. It is difficult for us, at this time of economic crisis, to think of expending additional monies, but without it, this frightening trend will not turn around. Lobby your senators, write the governor, your island administrator, etc. Second, you can teach your children how to protect themselves, by taking programs offered on all islands to help with this. Further, you can realize that we no longer live in the safe, old time community where we could trust our children to be out on the streets without supervision. We need to work together, to organize groups of parents to walk to schools with children, to pick them up after school, to teach children to be wary of strangers and, unfortunately, even of people they might know. Try not to allow them out and around unsupervised. We need to do all this without unduly frightening them. This is the reality of the less than healthy social environment in which we presently live. Together, we can prevail.
I have lived in the VI for seven years, and have dated men of all races and ethnic groups. I am presently dating a West Indian man. I am a white continental woman. We get along really well, and seem to be getting closer and closer. My friends warn me about cross-cultural relationships. What do you think?
Cindy, from Chocolate Hole.
All relationships are difficult. Cross cultural relationships are even more challenging. They are, however, far from impossible. What is important is that you and your partner discuss, openly and freely, what each of you expect from one another within the relationship. Differences should be noted, respected and, indeed, appreciated. Bring cultural differences to the surface. Dont try to deny, minimize, or avoid them. Realize that in this, as in all relationships, you cannot change your partner, nor can they change you.
If you can learn to live with the differences you experience, you have the potential to have an enriching, growth producing experience. Dont hesitate, however, to seek help should cultural differences interfere. Seek a counselor who is experienced in and sensitive to cultural diversity issues. Good luck!
Editor's note: Dr. Iris Kern is director of the Safety Zone in St. John.
PROTECT OUR CHILDREN AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE
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