Weekend Witness - - Opinion -

THE sugar daddy phe­nom­e­non in South Africa can be viewed from dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives. See­ing a good-look­ing teenager or woman in her 20s hang­ing onto the arm of a man in his 50s one could view the woman as the dom­i­nant part­ner, prey­ing on the older, wealth­ier man.

Or this scene could be de­scribed as one of ruth­less ex­ploita­tion, where the much older man hands out his power and wealth in ex­change for sex­ual favours.

The phe­nom­e­non is not unique to South Africa, but the coun­try’ so­cioe­co­nomic chal­lenges make for an ideal en­vi­ron­ment for the preda­tor prey re­la­tion­ship.

The con­se­quences for the younger woman in­clude loss of self worth, STDs, psy­cho­log­i­cal is­sues and teenage preg­nan­cies.

In many cases the young woman is a child with the sugar daddy ig­nor­ing the fact that he is com­mit­ting statu­tory rape.

The pos­si­ble per­ceived ben­e­fits could be univer­sity fees, text books and air time.

The con­se­quences for the man, es­pe­cially if he is mar­ried, can prove de­struc­tive with fam­ily bonds sac­ri­ficed or bro­ken.

Very few sugar daddy re­la­tion­ships blos­som into any­thing per­ma­nent or sta­ble and in the end one or both par­ties will leave with per­ma­nent psy­cho­log­i­cal bag­gage.

Un­for­tu­nately the phe­nom­e­non — rather than be­ing seen as a stigma — is glam­or­ised to a cer­tain ex­tent. Per­haps it is time for ev­ery­one to recog­nise the far-reach­ing ef­fects of such re­la­tion­ships.

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