‘The perpetrators of such depraved acts against innocent boys will never realise that they have created a generation of incomplete and unfinished men’
THE recent outbreak of violence among secondary school students in Trinidad and Tobago should not be a shock. It was a result of certain emotional and psychological wounds that were inflicted on students.
Some of us might be familiar with the terms- “mother wound”, “father wound” and “narcissistic wound”. The common factors linking all these wounds is that there is abuse, hurt, neglect and hate resulting in a painful state of incompleteness. This incompleteness is the wound. There are many of us who have been wounded and some refuse to be healed whilst others are not aware of the wound.
Children in the Caribbean will become wounded when they are emotionally and verbally abused and it is often difficult to heal these wounds. The frightening headline of an article in the Trinidad Guardian newspaper on May 7, 2016 was “Children abused at alarming rate”. The report revealed that during the past year more than 5,000 incidents of child abuse were committed in the relatively small nation of T&T. Why did citizens allow this to occur? If 5,000 cases were reported in 12 months the troubling question remains- how many were not reported? How many of these abused children were boys?
During the past decade, there have been ugly revelations of boys being abused within the Roman Catholic Church. In 2020, another can of worms was opened as the world was shocked to learn of boys being abused in the Boy Scouts of America. These boys and teens were robbed of their innocence and stripped of their dignity. The perpetrators of such depraved acts against innocent boys will never realise that they have created a generation of incomplete and unfinished men. No amount of compensation to the victims can restore the damage to these persons. These traumatised boys and humiliated men will face an uphill struggle as some will question religion, rebuild spirituality and others will try to untangle their sexuality. The Boy Scouts and Roman Catholic Church are two organisations. What about other organisations, institutions such as orphanages and schools? In 2022, there was the alarming cases of abuses in children’s homes in T&T. These innocent children were being physically, sexually and verbally abused.
We cannot continue to overlook and underestimate the crucial role of society in creating and reopening wounds of the boy child. Subliminal messages and informal education often contain harmful ingredients that contribute to our boys being troubled.
We need to identify the “wounded” boys and rescue them from the waves of hopelessness and pessimism that continue to knock them down. Some boys appear fortunate as they are surrounded by wealth and security but lack caring and considerate parents and/or friends. Some boys might have attained a sound education and desirable occupation but display personality disorders or lack character.
Boys born to parents who are drug addicts and alcoholics will not fully develop their potential and talents in such a negative environment. Boys reared by parents bearing either a father wound and/or mother wound will most likely mature into wounded adults. Thus a wounded cycle continues into the next generation. A wounded teacher or wounded role model will often unknowingly inflict wounds on other innocent souls.
The questions that arise- should the government or agencies immediately intervene and separate children from their biological parents who are wounded? Or should the government seek help for the parents and later reunite the child or children with the parents? Society should not judge these wounded boys as failures. These wounded children might have a slow or rough start in life but they do not have to develop into failures or a burden to society. These children must be motivated and taught how to turn their anger, depression and pain into success.
Each wounded boy is unique and if given sufficient support and encouragement, he will be able to fit into society and make a worthwhile contribution. Our wounded boys are often misunderstood and wrongly labelled. The education system should never be a “one size fits all” model. Upon reflection, you would agree that our educational institutions and work environments never catered for boys emerging from wounded homes, orphanages and schools. It’s expensive to create a customized education program for each boy but teachers need to be mindful of the different coping mechanisms and different mental aptitudes of boys.
Dr Jereome Teelucksingh is
attached to the Department of History at the University of the West Ind ies at St Augustine. He has published books, chapters and journal articles on the Caribbean diaspora, masculinity, culture, politics, ethnicity and religion. Also, he has produced a documentary – Brown Lives Matter and presented papers at academic conferences.
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