FOR many girls their first experience with sex is at the hands of an older male, usually a stepfather or a community leader, says Dr Kamala Kempado, in a recent study of 170 Jamaican adoloscents from Kingston, Montego Bay and Trelawny.
His study entitled: Early Sexual Activity Among Adolescents, is contained in a new manual entitled, Meeting Adolescent Development and Participation Rights. The manual, which examines the lives of teenagers in Jamaica, was compiled by UNFPA and UNICEF earlier this year.
In his conversations with teens Dr Kempado found that relationships with 'big men' were primarily based on what the man could provide other than sex. According to several respondents:
"Some a dem fadda and madda poor and caan afford it... is the only way fi go an get it dat is why dem do it."
"Some girls deh with man who working an' have car so they can look hot at all time an' get more lunch money."
The study also noted that relationships with community leaders were often formed for a sense of security as well as a means of getting attention.
One respondent explained it this way: "Everybody fear 'im and look up to 'im, an' when she have a realtionship wid 'im, she know sey she wi' get attention an' nobody caan trouble har 'cause har man a bad man."
With all of this, however, incest was found to be a major contributing factor in the sexual activity of girls. Three participants, recounting their own past, made these statements:
"Mostly some of the fathers say that the mothers nah gi' me, mek me get from the pickney."
"Sometime yuh grow in a home where there is no love an' yuh stepfather a molest yuh...all yu father too."
"When yuh see dem sexually abused, mostly by stepfather, it lead to two things: One yuh just lock off wid man an' turn lesbian or kill yuhself, or sey if dem stepfather can have sex wid dem anybody can have sex wid dem."
Although I never experienced it first-hand, when I was in high school in JA, I knew a whole lot of girls who would only talk to older men. Most of them were poor, yet they would come to school in de lates' hair style and wid the latest shoes...And most of them would have man wid the big bikes...until we started gettin' in trouble for goin' home on de back of a bike (imagine gettin detention cause a dat) stewwpss!!
I used to read stories in de paper all de time about young girls who got molested by their stepfather, and their mothers throw them outta de house and say is lie dem telling.