Interviewer: Hope Charles-Pierre
It is illegal in the United States Virgin Islands for an adult to be in a romantic relationship with a minor.
Yet, it has been a known fact, in the islands for quite some time, that pedophilia, in regards to older men dating younger girls is an issue.
Sexual acts are occurring in these illegal relationships, and it is time that issues such as these are dealt with.
Several teachers in the territory gave their opinions on the issue of romantic relationships between adults and minors.
“It’s the fact that you cannot just look at somebody and know that that’s something they are involved in.
So that’s kind of scary, because you might think you are leaving your child around someone who is an adult, and they are responsible to take care of them.
There is no mark on their face, that says they are routing for this, or that’s someone they should stay away from.
So, I think that is very troubling.”
“I think it’s [about] educating young people. Because young people might have that sense that ‘ok, it ‘s an older person, I feel secure.’
But just to educate them that this is something that happens, so it’s not everybody that they see to just automatically think that this person is an adult and they have their best interest at heart.
So, I think it’s education first of all, because nowadays they[children] see a lot of things on the internet, and they think it’s normal….
also, the things that we allow children to do, I think that there should be a limit on things and places children should go.”
“Children are not given enough attention these days at home.
Then when they get out there, the first person that shows them attention, they end up going too far. It starts at home”
“I can warn parents about the dangers of not giving their children enough attention at home, and listening to them.”
“I think it is wrong. They target young girls and young boys too.
“I can encourage parents to educate their young children about their bodies, from a young age.”
“I think it should be stopped. But at the same time, there are younger girls that like older men. So, it’s kind of hard to know what side to be on.”
“I can warn girls about the dangers of going out alone. They should hang out in groups.”
I think it’s the idea of people that are older, taking advantage of people that are younger. In many cases, they are not aware of how dangerous it is.
They are being victimized without even knowing and understanding what is happening to them…. they are taking advantage of those who might not even understand ‘good touch and bad touch.’
“As a teacher, I think it’s important to talk to students and parents and change the culture in general.
We are in a Caribbean society where it is very taboo to talk about things like that.
We have men coming to school to pick up young ladies, that are under age. It has to do with the culture; ‘as soon as a young lady looks a certain way, or has a certain body type, it doesn’t matter what her age is.’
‘…as soon as a young lady looks a certain way, or has a certain body type, it doesn’t matter what her age is.’
It’s important that we take a strong stance against it so that people know that when they do this, they will be harshly punished.”
“It’s important that we take a strong stance against it so that people know that when they do this, they will be harshly punished.” – A. Pierre
“Young people need to know that if someone is after them in that way, it needs to be reported.”
“I can help young people realize that they need to speak out against this type of behavior.”
“It’s a crime”
I don’t think that one answer would be sufficient for what I can personally do to help the situation.
I think that there are many things that we have to come together on and do, so I can’t just pinpoint one thing.”
“I would say there are a lasting effect and lasting trauma that comes with it.
Sometimes they might not realize this until they get older.”
“If I suspect anything I could confront them, or tell the proper authorities.”
“I think the most troubling thing is that it’s also a mental problem.
And that makes it a more serious crime, then just a child molester that is in his good mind, and made a wrong decision.
I look at pedophilia as a very serious illness, that needs to be addressed even more in society.
It is doing harm to even the least or weakest among us, which are our children; even before they have time [to enjoy their innocence and become] stable and happy adults.”
“If I were to encounter such activities, I would report it to the authorities, because that person needs help from the professionals in that environment.”