Jamaica Gleaner


Chil­dren act­ing out sex­ual acts af­ter be­ing taught by adults

- Ryon Jones Staff Re­porter ryon.jones@glean­erjm.com

SCARRED BY sex­ual abuse, sex­u­ally ex­posed or oth­er­wise sex­u­alised, some chil­dren are act­ing out these bad lessons in places of play and learn­ing.

“One of the things I am see­ing a lot of ... is chil­dren as young as three, four, five years old are mo­lest­ing other chil­dren,” an in­ves­ti­ga­tor at­tached to the Child De­vel­op­ment Agency told The

Sun­day Gleaner.

“I am see­ing a lot of that. They have ei­ther seen porn or some­body has mo­lested them,” said the in­ves­ti­ga­tor, as she noted that some of the chil­dren en­gage in ho­mo­sex­ual acts.

Ac­cord­ing to the in­ves­ti­ga­tor, who asked not to be named, the so­ci­ety needs to be re-ed­u­cated to recog­nise that chil­dren’s cu­rios­ity is be­ing piqued and they are get­ting sex­u­ally aroused based on what they are be­ing ex­posed to, and are ex­per­i­ment­ing.

“Par­ents have to be mind­ful of what they are ex­pos­ing their chil­dren to; the movies you watch, pri­vacy in your mo­ments with your part­ners, be­cause they are hear­ing and they are see­ing, and when chil­dren hear you make sounds and they know that it is plea­sure then they are cu­ri­ous,” added the in­ves­ti­ga­tor who has spent more than 10 years work­ing with chil­dren.

But psy­chi­a­trist, Pro­fes­sor Wen­del Abel, says de­spite the dis­turb­ing in­ci­dents re­ported there is no rea­son for hys­te­ria, as chil­dren will nat­u­rally experiment and ex­plore.

Ac­cord­ing to Abel, this un­der­scores the need for chil­dren to be prop­erly mon­i­tored and guided.

“Par­ents and teach­ers have to be care­ful how they deal with that (child ex­per­i­ment­ing), be­cause chil­dren some­times experiment sex­u­ally, and what needs to be done is that they need to be guided to en­gage in more ap­pro­pri­ate sex­ual be­hav­iour,” said Abel, who is a se­nior lec­turer in the Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Health & Psy­chi­a­try at the Univer­sity of the West Indies.

“As chil­dren form their iden­tity and they are guided and cor­rected they will en­gage in be­hav­iour that we call ap­pro­pri­ate.”


Clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, Dr Karen Richards, agreed that some sex­ual ex­plo­ration and cu­rios­ity is nor­mal at a cer­tain age, within a cer­tain con­text and among chil­dren at a com­pa­ra­ble age.

How­ever, Richards warned that the prob­lem that arises is when chil­dren are co­erced or tricked into sex­ual acts, such as one case re­ported to The

Sun­day Gleaner where a fa­ther made his six-year-old daugh­ter watch a porno­graphic movie.

“The sex­u­alised ac­tions of chil­dren may be mo­ti­vated or stim­u­lated by their ex­pe­ri­ences of abuse or ex­po­sure to sex­ual ma­te­rial such as pornog­ra­phy or watch­ing oth­ers; older sib­lings, cousins, guardians etc., en­gage in sex­ual ac­tiv­ity,” said Richards.

“Act­ing out be­hav­iour can be com­plex and should be un­der­stood within the con­text of a bi­o­log­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal and so­cial model. Pro­fes­sional sup­port or guid­ance should be sought if there are con­cerns.”

 ?? FILE ?? The boys of Yab­nel Care Cen­tre hold­ing signs dur­ing a re­cent march against child abuse.
FILE The boys of Yab­nel Care Cen­tre hold­ing signs dur­ing a re­cent march against child abuse.

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