In the ‘Stella Says’ article of June 25, Stella Ramsaroop sets out the responses gleaned from the three presidential candidates on the following question:
“Tell me what is your view of older men who seek out girls under the age of 18 for sexual relations?”
The writer seems to believe that there is some profundity in this question. I do not. I venture to suggest that the responses from the three candidates to whom the questions were posed reflect that they were equally bemused by the unhappy effect which the question had of robbing an important subject of the possibility of a meaningful response. Mr Ramjattan demonstrated his guileless character by his straightforward response, “It is abominable.” Of course it is abominable and unfortunately the inane question did not warrant a more involved response. Mr Ramotar discussed the consensual age of 16 prescribed by law and concluded that “If the relationship is exploitative… it is immoral.” Mr Granger attempted to explore the effect of societal pressures as one cause of the problems and suggested a need to educate both males and females.
The shallowness of the question posed could not have generated a more thorough and thoughtful response as the question posed an absolute; of course the answer had to be a resounding, ‘It is wrong.’
To compound the superficiality of the discussion Ms Ramsaroop goes on to rate the candidates based on the emphathic tenor of their response.
So Mr Ramjattan’s resounding condemnation of the ‘abomination’ received the highest rating. The question as posed didn’t permit a response to address the much wider problems prevalent in our society.
The fact is there are myriad reasons why young women and older men enter into relationships. These reasons can be subsumed into four main categories: economics, duress, desire for a father figure and curiosity. Ms Ramsaroop’s article did little to explore any of these factors.
The problem we face in this society is the oppression of women due to economic factors and cultural indoctrination.
So the question that ought to have been posed is how do the candidates intend to empower women so that they are not so easily made victims of sexual predators, domestic violence and societal ostracism and scorn for any non-conformity.
I expect the discourse in a Stabroek News publication to raise us above the everyday thoughtless exchanges which bear no fruit. I am disappointed that this article is just that, a thoughtless exchange.