Another Teenage Girl Missing
As we approach the end of the first month of the year 2014 as a nation, we have already documented two cases of Missing Teenage Girls in the Federation, who thankfully, were located alive. However, these were two cases too many, and am certain with this statement, all if not most of you, would agree.
Additionally, despite every local media house publishing both cases, whether online or in their printed newspapers, as well as discussing them on radio and TV, the general reaction from the public whether at work, church, school or on the streets, was sadly the same not overly concerned reaction, that has crept its ugly head into our culture and society. It went along these lines, “(stupes) everybody know wey she be, she gone by she man”.
As I went about my daily activities, during the days these girls were absent from their homes, and listened to discussions about them, and reflected on other recent cases, I recognized that as it relates to these types of cases our society was changing, and changing for the worst. There were no discussions about forming search parties, or printing loads of posters and placing them all around the country, or getting involved in an aggressive manhunt which would span the lengths and breadths of the country, or even giving a cash reward for information leading to the safe return of the girls. No, there were little, if any talk of such, at least not from the discussions I heard, and there was nothing of a community response publicized by the media.
It then struck me that by no stretch of the imagination could this be right, since it meant that as a society we were neglecting our civic duty to these young ladies, forgetting it still takes “a community to not only raise, but to protect a child”. Some may argue, that it is because in the majority of these cases in recent years, the girls were found to be alive and well having spent quality time away with their men or boyfriends. However, this does not justify the fact that we are failing our young ladies, by not going the extra mile to demonstrate that we are concerned about their wellbeing and their whereabouts, when they are away from their homes.
What would happen in the event that God forbid, when another girl goes missing, she is actually abducted and in serious danger of being raped, murdered or becoming a victim of human trafficking? How would we feel if at the end of the day, we realize that we missed an opportunity to save a life of a young daughter of our soil, because we resigned ourselves to thinking, here is another case where “she dey by she man”?
As an avid reader of regional and international news, I know these types of cases are not taken lightly in other jurisdictions, and the same should apply here as well. Having done my research, and read upon cases that date even back to the 1980s, I know as a Kittitian and Nevisian society we certainly exercised a lot more expression of concern, for our young ladies who went missing in the past, and it is something that if we put our hearts, hands and minds to, we can begin to do it once again fervently.
Let us therefore, avoid allowing ourselves to be caught with our pants down as a society. More importantly, let us rise to the occasion to educate our young ladies on what it means to walk the straight and narrow and to be decent, respectable and well behaved young ladies, and rally around parents who are having challenges raising their children, to shoulder them with some much needed support.
Finally, let us therefore, as a nation work together within our communities to ensure that another girl does not go missing, and if in the unfortunate event that it does happen, we react promptly and seriously, to ensure she is found almost immediately, and returned safely to her home.