Societal norms around our children need drastic reset
In reading your most recent editorial, I agree with many points therein, but I also see it from a slightly different angle.
First, I always thought that defence lawyer Charles Richardson, was/is using his comments to focus attention on himself rather than serving his client — for his legal strategy was to victimise the victim once again in court, to intentionally victimise the victim. By focusing on his comments, as he knew that the sensationalism and societal sting would greatly increase his visibility — politically, in other words — his strategy was to clearly put the victim on trial also.
Second, Justice Charles-Etta Simmons took the bait but shielded herself from public fallout. In other words, Mrs Justice Simmons mirrored her sentence precisely to the recommendation made by Mr Richardson on behalf of his client.
Third, an explosively manipulative point made and the case served justice for his client, not the victim, but the social ramifications are now the victim’s burden in emotional and mental overload — and those scars of public humiliation will last a very, very long time.
Fourth, ultimately, in many ways, by this one court case, Mr Richardson killed several birds with one stone: the euphoria of women’s groups and their hard-fought new legislation protecting the rights of victims; a beguiled judge; the Department of Public Prosecutions and the public left stunned by a wafer-thin sentence handed down; the Editor befriended only to be used to covertly maximise Mr Richardson’s ongoing, publicity-seeking stunts; and a client who must think that 18 months in prison, with credit for time already served, is nothing short of an extended Covid-19 lockdown.
By the way, will the convicted be placed on the sex offenders’ registry for at least a ten-year minimum? And more profoundly, will the DPP appeal his “lenient” sentence?
But our immediate refocus must be ...
How do young preteens and adolescents become sexualised so early? And how is their sexualisation being thrust into social-media chat room groups as normal?
Well, a big clue — preteens and adolescents have not changed, but society has.
We now see alcohol, drugs, violence and pornography as societally normal. While alcohol, drugs and violence may be mainstream to the point being viewed as old school, porn has more recently “graduated” to be societally acceptable.
The taboo or stigma surrounding porn has moved on, whereby videos are purchased by consenting adults — to be locked away securely at home, or so they think — to pornography that is downloaded on your smartphone. Remove the bar against X-rated content and you have instant 24/7 access!
And for clarity, I am not stating that this is unique to this court case.
However, let me state unambiguously that it is a growing trend, a common means of sexualising our young and most vulnerable, a means of making our young very pliable. All so very disheartening, as it has never been easier and more combustible.
We need to act, not just talk — but counteract the societal changes and new adult “norms” that were never intended, yet but do impact heavily on children.
VALIRIE MARCIA AKINSTALL
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