The Director of the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit (CJRPU), Cheryl Willoughby, says based on statistics compiled by her unit, men are not only the main victims of violent crimes in Barbados, but the main perpetrators as well.
Addressing a conference today, she therefore cautioned that while men were often perceived as strong and independent leaders, they were in need of help.
“They are perceived to be leaders, they are perceived to be the ones who will instil guidance, but I also believe that we are to also recognize that men are the ones that may be requiring additional help,” she told the opening of a school session for the More than Victors Family Conference.
She told the gathering it was important to target young men at an early age, as children were already indoctrinated into certain patterns of behaviour by the time they reached the age of 13 or 14.
Willoughby warned that waiting until a child reached secondary school to start an intervention was too late, stressing that all efforts must be made to intervene earlier.
She noted that the CJRPU had already implemented several initiatives, such as the Dispute Resolution and Conflict Mediation and Boys to Men programmes, which dealt with behavioural problems in school, male sexuality and self-esteem building, among other areas.
However, she pointed out that a major challenge with some males was that they did not like to verbalize their issues, with many of them keeping their problems to themselves, unlike women who tended to be more expressive.
She added that men appeared to be “retreating in surrender”, with women now taking over at the helm of organizations such as the Boy Scouts.
“We need more males to come forward and mentor our young men so they can see positive role models among themselves,” the Director emphasized.
During the morning session, boys from nine secondary schools and the Government Industrial School listened as American teacher Mark Taylor shared his story of being a victim of sex trafficking from the age of 11.
Taylor advised the young boys that if they were in need of help, they should find someone and talk to them about what was happening.
He also urged teachers and parents to be on the look out for any noticeable changes in their children’s behaviour or in their school work.