The sexualisation of our boys

| 22/05/2019 | 57 Comments

Cayman News ServiceProtection Starts Here writes: If you aren’t concerned about the photos of grown women wining on infants and children, you aren’t paying attention. Sexualisation has been a main topic of discussion for well over a decade, and certainly since it was better defined by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Task Force Report on the Sexualisation of Girls in 2010. However, few people actually understand what sexualisation entails and how it applies to boys.

To start at the beginning: each of us is born a sexual being. Our sexuality, like our bodies and our minds, evolves over time, but we are all sexual beings from birth.

Healthy sexuality, which is what we should all be striving for — for ourselves and our children — “is an important component of both physical and mental health, fosters intimacy, bonding, and shared pleasure, and involves mutual respect between consenting partners” (Satcher, 2001; Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States [SIECUS], 2004). It also involves age and developmentally appropriate expressions of sexuality.

Sexualisation, by contrast, occurs when

  • “a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behaviour, to the exclusion of other characteristics”;
  • “a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with ‘being sexy’”;
  • “a person is sexually objectified — that is, made into a thing for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making”;
  • “and/or sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person” (Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls) .

It is that last point, the inappropriate imposition of sexuality upon a person, that has been particularly problematic in our community, especially as it relates to our boys.

Our understanding of gender, gender roles and gender norms has shaped the way which we differentiate boys and girls in many ways through societal rules that have no basis in science or nature, but none more so than when it comes to sex a prowess, but also as a potential buffer for possible homosexuality as homophobic tendencies dictate that this is a way to ensure that our boys ‘don’t become homosexuals’ (spoiler alert: sexuality and sexual orientation don’t work this way).

Those beliefs of this perceived difference between “boy children” and “girl children” is what makes it possible for an adult to be able to act in a sexualised manner with a young child in public and to think nothing of it. Think about it: had it been a man who was rubbing his penis on a 7-9 year old girl in the name of carnival, would it have been allowed to happen?

Would those parents have proudly displayed the moment on social media with an “attagirl” type message? Would that man have made it out of the festivities alive or would the mob have deemed him a pedophile and acted ‘accordingly’?

A child is a child. That statement remains the same whether they are born male or female. Children are not equipped to handle sex: not only physically but also emotionally and psychologically. Boys and girls are not different at all in that regard and it is this notion that girls need to be protected and boys encouraged that puts girls, boys, men and women not only at a disadvantage but also at risk.

When a grown woman has sex with an underaged boy we call it initiation, not rape. It wasn’t that long ago that fathers shared stories about taking their underaged sons to brothels to “become men”. Chris Brown has bragged on US national media about “losing his virginity” at the age 8 to a 15 year old girl, never once registering that what happened to him was child sexual abuse.

All of these things come together to normalise behaviour and unify messages that dehumanise boys and men. As a society we tell men that they are supposed to want every heterosexual sexual experience that is made available to them. A “real man” will want as much sex as he can get. A “real man” will never turn down a woman sexually. And if that man says ‘no’ then there is something wrong with him.

This has meant that numerous male victims of child sexual abuse and rape do not even recognise that they have been victimised until much later in life when they are forced to face dysfunctional relationships of their own, risky sexual behaviours, drug and alcohol misuse or have difficulty managing their anger.

They are left to construe their own sense of worth while confronting a lifetime of messages that essentially equates their value to their sexual abilities. Messages that they received from birth and which have made them vulnerable since.

Even if the boys in the CayMAS images were asked if they wanted the women to wine on them they cannot legally or developmentally consent. As such they should never have been put in that situation in the first place because that has normalised a behaviour that perpetrators of child sexual abuse can use to their advantage when looking to do children harm.

The act of having what are supposed to be “safe adults”, i.e. parents and guardians, consent to this taking place also gives these boys the wrong message that their bodies are not their own. It lays down the foundation that adults can make decisions about their bodies and about other people’s access to their bodies. Again, this is something that perpetrators of child sexual abuse also use to their advantage when grooming children to do them harm.

All of it makes the boys more vulnerable. All of it teaches them the wrong lessons.

All instances captured, including the one of the crying infant, at the very least depict the sexualisation of children. It is sexualisation because, while the child does not know any better and does not understand, the adults in question and any other adult seeing the image understand the sexual implications of what is happening.

All instances captured are, at worst, on the scale of child sexual exploitation. Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse, and as such there is no such thing as parental consent for the act to happen. In other words, saying that ”the parent didn’t have a problem with it” or “I’m the parent and I said it was okay” is not sufficient for the act to happen and for the adults to be free from fault. Parents simply cannot consent to their children being sexually exploited.

While sexualisation of children is developmentally damaging, it does not always meet a criminal threshold and in some cases it is not in fact a crime. The criminal scale of child sexual exploitation is a matter for the police (through the collection and presentation of evidence) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (in the interpretation of the evidence) to deliberate over and determine the likelihood of a successful prosecution beyond reasonable doubt.

Despite this legal consideration it is our aim as a community to be pro-active and not wait until matters escalate to the level of a criminal threshold before we begin to address them.

As a community we must not only continue to educate ourselves, but we have to help others so that they understand what this is and the harm which it does, not only to the child involved but to the community as a whole. We must confront the fact that there are aspects of our culture that allow this to happen, and that technology and social media have only brought to light that which has been going on for decades. It is not enough to condemn parents and festival organisers when we haven’t made holistic child safeguarding our priority and set down the house rules for how to treat our nation’s children. That continues to be on all of us.

Protection Starts Here (PSH) is a grassroots, multi-agency child abuse prevention project spearheaded by the Cayman Islands Red Cross in partnership with the Employee Assistance Programme, Health Services Authority, Ministry of Education, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and Sands Creative Studios. For more information, or to get involved, contact

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Comments (57)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Batabano parade plays huge role in over-sexualisation of children in this country.

    2 commenters on the “Letter: Concerned about Batabano and public morality” see that nothing is wrong with public morality in the Cayman Islands. As long as you don’t attend the event you don’t like, everything is hunky-dory. “There will always be people who are not happy with something..” is said.
    (Interesting that Compass posted only 2 comments that nearly express identical views).

    Lets remind that Batabano parade is a public, not private event, which means laws of public decency must be followed. The question is what “the public” considers decent in a christian country?

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Junior parades in these “carnivals” should be considered grooming. It’s only initiating children to aspire to atrocity that is the adult version.

    I also don’t get why parents take their children out to watch this parade. That should be considered grooming as well – akin to showing a child pornography.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes very sad to see where this country is going. Sunday liquor laws amended and gas stations selling booze yet no one can understand more vehicle accidents and fights not just in bars anymore but in gas stations too. You have the Junior Batabano and children are now being groomed for the grown up Batabano which has now become an eye sore and pure disgust of the behavior and the way they are dressed with little or nothing covering their private parts. I remember a time when we stood up against things such as these types of behaviors in public. But I guess the whole thing contributes to the whole economic plan by our Members of the MLA……good for tourism they will state. My Mama always say, be careful you don’t cut your nose off to spite your face. I could also say, time longer than rope. However, the sad part in this whole thing is that our children are growing up accepting that this behavior and dressing is quite the norm.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sunday liquor laws?In the 30’s and 40’s the Rum Shops were the grocery stores as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are you mentioning the selling of booze on Sundays when in Cayman so many child rapists are allowed to walk the streets.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What pictures??????

  5. Anonymous says:

    The adults in these photos should be arrested!

  6. Ron Ebanks says:

    I believe that the conduct that I seen in a picture that was taken at
    Caymas Festival of a full grown woman rubbing her ass up on a little boy front was inappropriate and could be classified as child molestation.

    In any Court / Country if a man did touch a little girl inappropriately he would be charged for with child molestation and might be deemed as
    a pedophile. I might kill him if he did that to my little girl . And the woman that did that act to the little boy should be prosecute and charged with child molestation.

  7. Anonymous says:

    You people insane thinking you need to bring charges against people just having fun. I bet that kid thought nothing about it and that dance lasted seconds.

    It’s more important to teach children about proper use of birth control and have sexual education in school. Children will have sex sometimes before the age of 14 so sex ed in schools is more important today than ever.

    Do you think common sense will ever prevail on this island? Not today bobo.

    • Anonymous says:

      The children shouldn’t be permitted to take part in Caymas. Period. It’s a similar problem when you go out to a bar or a club and find you’re surrounded by underaged children who may or may not look older than their age. People are not carded when going.

      • Anonymous says:

        In regards to carding….it NEVER happens on the Brac. Scary when underage students show up at school hungover and bragging about being at Bussy’s

        • Anonymous says:

          The Cayman Islands Law is clear: “dispose” includes sell, barter, exchange, give, supply, deliver or otherwise pass
          or allow to pass into the control of some other person for value; and any disposal
          of intoxicating liquor shall be presumed to be for value and in pursuance of a sale,”
          This would mean everyone including the “carnivals” and the carnivals’ other events that try to skirt the law by selling pre-paid packages that happen to include “free alcohol”. This should be for everyone including organizers that also happen to work for government

    • Anonymous says:

      You are a vile, selfish and disgusting person for taking the time to write that comment. Probably one of the loose, pedophile women that was abusing the little boys.

      TODAY is the DAY people with common sense stamp out putrid scum like you, BOBO!

      CNS: This person is obviously a pedophile that enjoys watching children being preyed upon. Please send their IP address to the police so that they can be investigated. This comment alone is child abuse.

    • Anonymous says:

      @3:16 pm
      what is the definition of fun? Once upon a time burning witches was considered fun for some.

      I bet the kind of fun you are talking was never a part of any culture. This is pure perversion masqueraded as public celebration of culture and heritage.

      Batabano is a despicable event, lucking any choreography and common sense.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I agree not with a child but our friends up North are the last ones to be condeming us where underage child brides are permitted each year.Polygamist preach the word of God and rape pre teens for goodness sakes.The Babtist Church,The Cathlolic Church have all hidden such crimes as well.These people were enjoying carnival out in the open with nothing to hide, find something else to complain about.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah I know can’t handle the truth now can you?I guess it would be best to consider placing the young man in a nice intitution up north to get molested or caught in a school shooting by some spoilt little white boys who can’t get a girlfriend!!Caymas my friend much much safer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep. Be proud we molest children in public for our personal entertainment. Who cares about a child’s well being and development when all we want to do is get drunk and get on bad. Let’s just get drunk and stupid and find anything and anyone to rub our privates up against. Act like a slut. Hump like a mongrel. Sexualize a child who didn’t consent.

    • Bertie : B says:

      Yeah it happens in other countries , so why cant Cayman join the parade of child molesting , your a Moron !

  9. Anonymous says:

    If I let my boys go to Caymas then thats my priority. What we needto do is to stop raising a bunch of wussy boys.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry but your comment really bothers me for a number of reasons. What happens if one or more of your boys grow up to fit your definition of “wussy”? I guess you will think you didnt sexialise them enough?! Will you withdraw your love and support? What happens if you have a girl who happens to like girls because she was born that way? Ill tell you what I have seen happen around here all too often – some male degenerate in your family will deem himself to be the one ordained to “cure” her by raping her. Yes of course that is all she needs to set her straight according to their tiny ignorant minds. Congrtulations – that mentality has now led to a young girl sexually traumatised, fearful of adults (particularly in her family) and possibly pregnant and to top it all off the family and church often maitains that it is implicitly her fault, the child must be born and furthermore she is an abomination onto God because she is gay. Is this the kind of result that satisfies your priority?

      The writer of this viewpoint is spot on and criticising them for an objectively well written piece and the fundamental principles outlined says a lot about what is wrong with the thought process in too much of our society.

    • Anonymous says:

      What we need to do is charge you with child abuse and child endangerment. Maybe spay/neuter as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re disgusting.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is such a well written article.
    I am sure that parent that felt this was okay and posted the original on their social media did not think of it in the way that this article explains. It is good to be an educated, well informed parent that welcomes learning more about good parenting every day.
    I hope in hindsight that parent is embarrassed/ashamed and is mature enough to remove the post and maybe even apologize for not thinking it through.

    One other thought;
    “had it been a man who was rubbing his penis on a 7-9 year old girl in the name of carnival”
    Not just the penis grinding.. what if a man had grinded his bum on a 7-9 year old girl?

  11. Anonymous says:

    The parents of the child in that picture should have the child removed from their care as they are incompetent as parents and obviously cannot offer that child a wholesome, caring, loving and objective upbringing. If that child remains in that environment what opportunity does he have to be a wellrounded functioning adult if that is what he is exposed to. It is immoral and shameful that any parent would put a child in that situation. This is a case for the courts. That child needs to be protected apparently from its own parents if they allowed this to happen.

  12. Memo says:

    very well written article. It was extremely disturbing to see the couple of pictures I did come across. It was even more disturbing the comments under the pictures of people saying that others were blowing things out of proportion, or if the parents let them do it, others should mind their business. No other way to put it, people are ignorant to their own demise and worse, to the demise of their poor children.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I would expect more comments than on gay marriage.

    • Anonymous says:

      Children don’t matter to religious fanatics – only embryos and what two consenting adults do.

    • Anonymous says:

      And also, Batabano and CayMas are proof that girl-on-girl action is the “good kind of gay”. This island is full of self-righteous, deviant hypocrites.

      If you really want to see Batabano and CayMas banned – invite gay men to take part in the parade, wear skimpy costumes and watch them grind up on each other, twerk and drop it like its hot in the street.

      It would come to a halt Q-U-I-C-K.

      But it’s all OK with the bible thumpers and the child humpers. This was just some slack, hard-up women molesting a little boy and posing in pornographic photos with a child… while the parents watched and ALLOWED it to happen. Apparently that’s ok… and we must all be quiet and leave the worthless people be – and we must also stop distracting the small mind’s attention from trying to keep to consenting adults of the same sex from being allowed to legally declare their devotion to each other and form a family.

      • Anonymous says:

        Batabano parade is a PUBLIC event, a “national carnival” (and carnival it is, pun intended). Spending public money on such disgusting events must be prohibited.

  14. Do What is Right says:

    What a well-written and lucid argument. All the adults involved should be ashamed of themselves, and should at the very least be brought up on charges – even if it only serves as an eye-opener and hard lesson. I wish we had more people like the author of this piece in our government, making policy and leading this country.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why is this woman and the child’s parents not being prosecuted?

    • Bishop Nicholas Sykes says:

      I should think that MASH should first be engaged in rhis matter since it is a public issue, and consideration given to prosecution according to available evidence.

      • nauticalone says:

        And so….as a Bishop, have you followed up with MASH?
        This question goes for anyone from CMA and/or any MLA?….Any follow through (similar to concerns of consenting adult same sex persons)?
        I’m sure some concern by someone of CMA or an MLA would cause the needed follow through!

        • Bishop Nicholas Sykes says:

          Indeed it is concern that helps to drive our institutions forward. And that concern requires us to escape from the anonymous safe place to express it. If you are truly concerned find MASH Cayman on their website and enail them. I did.

          • nauticalone says:

            Thanks for clarifying. It wasn’t clear…such as in numerous other instances where you, CMA and our MLA’s are so vociferous.

      • Anonymous says:

        Judge not lest ye be judged?

  16. Anonymous says:

    I used to love carnival time. Not anymore, it’s gross and not lighthearted.

  17. J|) says:

    Will be waiting patiently for the MLAs, Unison and Cayman Minister Association churches to gather at Fort st and then hold an emergency LA meeting for this grave threat to our Christian heritage and family values.

    Or is the Sexualisation of our children not as important to them as interfering with two consensual homosexual adult’s lives?

    • Anon says:

      I would also expect the LGBT community to gather too…don’t mix the two issues. This is a grave societal issue which speaks to extremely poor parenting and innocent children are at risk. How silly to use this to support the homosexual lifestyle and speak against the people who don’t support it.

      This is extremely disturbing and we need to consider rules and how to regulate these carnival activities since it is obvious some of these “adults” are incapable of making responsible decisions. Some of the attire should also be banned because it is basically nudity and I’m pretty certain there are existing laws which can be enforced in relation to public decency. There is also another very simple solution of banning children from attending these adult events. What really is the point in children attending? I personally have absolutely no interest in standing on the side of the road watching people get drunk and grind on each other.

      • Anonymous says:

        These kids were clearly hetro. Nothing to do with the gays.

      • A nah de mouse says:

        I hear what (J) is saying as a concern that CMA and many of our MLA’s are not tackling the difficult but accepted norms in our “Christian society”. Their voices will clearly go much further than the “LGBT community”?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Those pictures were so disturbing! What is also disturbing is this- the parents are okay w/ it, they find nothing wrong with a woman grinding on their 5-7 year old boy! AND, the woman wanted to do such an act to a child in the first place! I don’t care how much alcohol she might have had in her system, I’ve done stupid sh%! when I was drunk… but never, ever would backin my arse up on a child be one of them! Despicable behavior by all 3 adults involved! These carnivals are no place for children, period.

    How about a carnival to teach the youth sexual education, contraception and respecting one another?!

    • Anonymous says:

      How about a GOVERNMENT to teach the youth sexual education, contraception and respecting one another!

      The Minister for Education should be all over this instead of crashing people’s weddings.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree @12:56 pm… the government should take responsibility and to make sex education a part of the curriculum! (that’s my point in my comment, I was just trying to be a little sarcastic about the sex ed carnival). It’s all too much for me to wrap my head around, the exploitation of these young children. I have 2 kids under the age of 10, and the thought of someone doing that to either of them repulses me, and makes me wonder if I’d be in jail right now from kicking that woman’s ass!

      • Anonymous says:

        JuJu is too busy paving.

      • Anonymous says:

        How about PARENTS teach their kids about sexual education and not EXPOSE them to inappropriate behaviors?

        How about taking responsibility for your actions and your children?

        How about we stop defending worthless things that are culturally detrimental to us as a society because of selfish desire to do worthless things?

        But I do agree with your last statement.

        • Anonymous says:

          @ 10:15 pm… yes, parents should absolutely teach their kids about sex ed… BUT, when you have parents like these who find it perfectly acceptable for a woman to grind their 7 year old… what kind of sex ed do you think they will be teaching him?? Bang as many girls as possible without wearing protection cuz that defines a Caribbean man?? Seriously! We can’t possibly leave it up to the parents to teach their kids the real deal about being sexually active and responsible! That’s why it NEEDS to be taught in school, where facts are facts and can not be told random BS stories!

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