Athill condemns recent impregnation of minor

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Youth development specialist, Cleon Athill, has strongly condemned the actions that led to the impregnation of a 15-year-old girl. Athill, in an exclusive interview with OBSERVER media over the weekend, denounced the conduct as “unacceptable” since the age of consent is 16 years.
“Of course, I condemn that. In the work that I do, I see domestic violence and child abuse all the time. The actions in this particular case happened in a given space in time but then the effects last way, way, way beyond that. So, I know that it’s a very bad thing that we have happening in Antigua and Barbuda and so I condemn it,” Athill stated.
She added that she hopes that the victim receives justice. She said that some sort of mechanism needs to be put in place that will aid the victim to work through the trauma that she might be experiencing as a result of the situation. She also highlighted that it is of equal importance that the perpetrator gets the help that he needs.
She recalled having a conversation recently about how the actions of such offenders are usually viewed as being sick. The youth development specialist said that she does not agree with that assertion. According to her, the underlying factor is that in our society, adults tend to think of children in a particular way. They think children are dumb, not entitled to certain rights, and even more so if the child is female.
She posited that women are taught from an early age that their bodies belong to somebody else and so a man in this system is also at risk of thinking in a particular way towards females and themselves. She stressed that society has a lot of rewiring to do when it comes to how males and females view each other.
Athill then charged the various agencies that have the knowledge and skillsets to start the dialogue that will bring about the much-needed change in perspective and attitude. She said that a lot of men in Antigua and Barbuda have a particular mindset when it comes to women and therefore think that they are able to carry out such egregious acts.
It was reported in the Daily Observer two weeks ago that a 40-year-old man had been accused of preying upon a young member of his church by having sex with her. It was discovered later that the teen had become pregnant as a result.
The alleged perpetrator has since been denied bail.

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