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Friday, January 7, 2011

Grenada: Hold mothers accountable

Retired High Court Judge, Justice Lyle St. Paul wants to see a change in the laws of the land so that mothers can be held responsible for their girl children who fall victim to sexual offences.” But, what does Mr. St. Paul mean by holding mothers responsible? Is he talking about being responsible as in everyone is responsible for their children, or is he talking about literally executing punishments towards the mothers of these sexually offended victims? Also, why did Mr. St. Paul omit fathers from receiving this suggested punishment or punishments? Are they not as responsible for their children as do mothers?
Indeed, “mothers have a big part to play in protecting their girl children by taking up their responsibility towards them.” But so does fathers. And, by the way, boy children also need protecting. However, the issue that is most pressing is trying to ascertain what Mr. St. Paul really means by his statement. Certainly, if he means that parents should be more responsible and pay more attention to their children I have no reservations, but if he is insinuating that we should legally hold and punish mothers for their girl children’s behaviors is another issue. The implication here is huge.
The attorney-at-law spoke of being concerned about the crime situation in the country and pointed to the level of disrespect that is shown to women.” But what is the punishment you suggest we should administer to the alleged perpetrators for the actions of violating the human rights of these same girls and even their mothers who are violated. Why aren’t they held to account for their deviant atrocities alone? Have not women/mothers been victimized enough. So why do you, Mr. St. Paul, thinks the state should add to their suffering. Mothers, sir, are trying the best with their children considering the nature of our society and the world of today. It is not an easy job. And your suggestion will not help.
I agree that some parents – not only mothers – are neglectful, and should be dealt with accordingly. However, you and I know that even the best of parents struggle to keep their children – not just girls – on the “straight and narrow”. So, if I am to believe that what you mean by holding mothers responsible is to legally dish-out some form of punishment, I call you nuts.
Why? Because in an effort to avoid punishment; other crimes against children will certainly escalate; corporal punishment, for example. Parents will no doubt become more physically abusive to their children in an effort to protect their own asses. Are you St. Paul thinking to allow, as was done in the old days, corporal punishment for children to “protect” them? This is, as you must know, a recipe for child abuse.
Mr. St. Paul, I agree that there is a problem, but suggesting punishment for mothers, for things that might have been beyond their control, is a slippery slope we should not, as concern citizens, venture upon. I don’t believe that this is a viable option. On the other hand, there is, I believe, much better ways to deal with this problem. All we have to put on are our collective thinking caps, and come up with better ways of dealing with our issues. We can do better together. We have the capabilities.


  1. Alfreda P. Howard (Zhiyah)January 8, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    I agree; abuse is encouraged in the church an order to control children; if it is not adminstrated by the mother; she then can be hold responsible for her childs behaviors and /or actions. But, abusing a child for mishaps;can create an more disruptive child,then what was intended.

  2. We all must be responsible for our children. But I think Mr. St. Paul intended more that what we may think being responsible for our children is. Punishment, I think, is what he is alluding to here.
    You are right, Child abuse is also an ongoing thing in the Church.