By Dr Neals J. Chitan
As an international social skill consultant and crime reduction specialist, I have distinguished my career as a professional who looks beyond symptoms and anti-social behavior to identifying and addressing the deeper root causes which have led to these dysfunctional social outcomes. And so, to achieve this goal, it is crucially important to be objective and honest while examining and attempting to mitigate the social issues feeding these roots, without unduly damaging and killing the tree.
In the 21st century society of relativism, where absolute truth is a social construct of antiquity, phobias and hatred are very frequently and unreasonably diagnosed and pinned on you because of expressed opinions whether they be bias or objective. As a result, I have operated using the mantra “Truth sometimes sounds like hate to those who hate the truth”, as I examine the evidence and announce what I see as my version of truth, though sometimes unavoidably branded a hater.
However, it has never muzzled my opinion nor frightened me into silence and in the case of crime in the Caribbean, I believe it is my moral and professional responsibility, to be honest, and truthful to my people despite the biased agendas of even colleagues.
There is absolutely no doubt that males have been arrested, charged and incarcerated at an exponentially higher rate than women in the Caribbean, and by the way, across the globe. Men are demonized and locked away for life and even executed by judicial systems who find them guilty beyond their so-called reasonable doubt while rarely investigating and considering the root causes of the behavior. However, I want to address what I have seen and identified across the Caribbean as the role of the woman in feeding crime.
The first obvious and fundamental truth to be established is that in the overall scheme of things, women are the makers of criminals because of course, they are the makers of babies. It goes without saying that every criminal that has ever been caught or got away was born to a woman who had in most instances a pivotal role in nurturing and raising that criminal. Unfortunately, life’s unfairness, poor choices and selfishness render her task of raising a boy even more challenging, as the wide-spread phenomenon of absent fathers leave mothers socially, financially and emotionally stranded and alone to raise their sons.
It must be emphatically noted here that though this situation is the recipe for raising a dysfunctional or even criminally-minded male, that there are mothers who have swam against the raging currents and raised respectful and successful men, and I pause to take my hat off to them.
In many cases, death, separation, and divorce can plunge a mother into unexpected single parenting, and of course, these situations fall under the previously mentioned category of “life’s unfairness.” However, if we are honest, bad or poor irresponsible sexual practices and decisions by women have created the downward spiral that sometimes traps a baby boy from conception almost to his grave. And there is a serious need to raise public awareness of the link between unplanned and unwanted pregnancy and crime.
Women fall stricken for men who they do not know anything about except the way he looked at that time. Unfortunately, in many instances, after showing some sign of attraction to him, most socially dwarfed, untrained and dysfunctional men, now fully sexually stimulated by her glance, will respond with nothing else in mind but getting her into bed, even engaging criminal behaviors like drug-lacing of drinks, inappropriate touching, groping or even full-blown rape. In these instances, the woman is criminally violated hopefully beyond her will and cannot be held responsible for a pregnancy which may result.
However, if no criminal acts of force or deceit were perpetrated on her, a woman is fully responsible for the decisions of when and for whom she becomes pregnant, thus giving her offspring (son) and herself a better more reliable support system in which to thrive.
Dealing with delinquent and at-risk boys across the Caribbean, what we have found in over 65 percent of the cases when assessing the domestic environment and parenting of a client, it’s a single mother who did not really know the family, education, work ethics, criminal history, financial stability or even moral character of the man she had sex with and who turned out to be the father her son, but whom she expects to commit as a responsible father. Again, it may sound like hate, but I echo, “Truth sounds like hate to those who hate truth.”
What we see in many high schools are boys who are experiencing the uncertainty of maturation when they are only boys in the bodies of six-foot men who are not sure if they should act as a man or as a boy, and need their dads to affirm them and help them through the process. That’s the time when they are most prone to disrespecting and rebelling against authority since in the mirror, they too look like the authority figure physically but still have the mind and think like boys.
And so, in an attempt to command the respect of a “man” or to act like how they believe a man should, they begin their process of negative profiling by insensitive careless teachers, counsellors, and professionals whose agendas are more “enforcement” based than nurturing, thus introducing the boy to a life of frustration, failure and hopelessness.
To reverse this situation is almost impossible when the horse is already out of the gate. However, I believe there is hope as we spend more time talking and discussing responsible sexual decisions at a home, school, community and church level. Although we must discuss the beauty and enjoyment of sex, we must especially help women and girls understand the bitter and life-long consequences of impulsive, unduly coerced and unprocessed sexual activity while teaching our boys the importance of respecting girls, their bodies, their decisions, and their dignity.
As I work in prisons in North America and the Caribbean, I frequently meet young men who refer to me as their dad, and as I walk away, I ask myself, “What did I give to them that they needed so badly that they will call me dad?” The answer is affirmation, advice, love, care, sometimes money and all that a father should give.
Finally, let me say that I am not letting men off the hook for being absentee fathers!! Men must own up and give care, love, and support to their sons, but I want to send a strong warning to our girls and women to be very careful to whom you open your hearts and give your bodies to because I have seen it come back to break that same heart.
Remember ladies, you can either wipe the exciting tears of joy when your son graduates from college or wipe the tears of excruciating pain when you see him carried off to jail. And it most often begins with a sexual decision on your part.