Recent studies have revealed that 14-year-old girls in Barbados are being abused, molested and raped by men who are known to them, come from within the same home, or are a close associate of the family.
Director of the National Task Force on Crime Prevention, Cheryl Willoughby, made this disclosure today, as she urged teenage girls attending the Girls??? Talk Workshop to report any such matters to an adult they trust.
???Report any incident of sexual assault or abuse. If you are not comfortable with the situation, identify a trusted individual; it could be a guidance counselor, a teacher, [or] the lady mopping the floor. Go to the person and confide in that person to get assistance,??? she advised.
Noting that there were only a few cases of ???stranger rape??? in Barbados, Ms. Willoughby warned the teenage girls against keeping the abuse or assault to themselves and bowing to those who threatened them. ???You are stronger than you think,??? she stated.
Meanwhile, she also expressed concern over the growing number of girls being seen on the ???block??? drinking and smoking.??The Director said research conducted by the National Council on Substance Abuse indicated that marijuana was the preferred drug of choice by young people in Barbados, and the age of experimentation was decreasing.
???Girls are also using it on a regular basis, at home and at school,??? she said, noting teachers and others in society had a responsibility to make interventions among the males and females.
She warned the girls present not to allow themselves to become involved in drug abuse as it was a complex problem which was hard to fight. ???Prevention is better than cure. Drug abuse affects the lives of many individuals, families and society in general,??? Ms. Willoughby pointed out, stressing that the activity was not as glamorous as it appeared and had negative consequences.