‘Let’s pay attention to our boys and young men’

Minister Persaud urges on the occasion of International Day of the Boy Child

I must say that I find the observance of International Day of the Boy Child today not only significant, but timely. I say this on account of the experience we’ve garnered with our boys and young men recently and the data that we’ve scrutinised for the year so far.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the tendency has been to pay more attention to the girls and protect them, while we show less consideration to the boys. While it is true that more girls are abused, sexually and otherwise, let’s not be deceived into thinking that the same thing doesn’t happen to boys.  

According to the latest statistics available to us, 635 girls were abused for the first quarter of this year alone, but an alarming number of boys were also abused – 404.

The types of abuse reported include physical, sexual, verbal, neglect, and abandonment.

As far as boys are concerned, let me share with you that for the age range of 0-3 years old, 110 boys were abused; 4-7 years old, 95 boys; 8-13 years old, 147 boys; and 14-18 years old, 52 boys.

It is for this reason that the systems we are putting in place to deal with child abuse are for both boys and girls.

The Ministry’s Child Care and Protection Agency, quite ably headed by Ms. Ann Greene, has been working to promote more awareness of the issue.

It’s true that our boys are hurting and they need us. While they are also groomed for sexual abuse, we don’t get them to talk easily about it.

I would like to appeal to parents to pay attention to the safety of their boy children, their education and the messages that boys receive very early in life about respecting females and using dialogue to resolve conflict.

It is also equally important for boys to be exposed to both positive male and female role models in their foundation years.

Many boys have had to shoulder responsibilities very early in single-parent homes in the absence of fathers and this impacts on their later relationships and choices.  It is also known that less boys are pursuing tertiary level education as compared to girls and this has created a shift in the workforce.

The point is while we will be working consistently to empower girls through the Ministry, boys will benefit also from access to developmental opportunities and engagement as we recognise that they must be engaged early to counter escalating issues of domestic violence, crime, substance abuse, and unhealthy self-perceptions and coping mechanisms.

I encourage parents to pay attention to their sons and ensure that they receive positive messages on self-awareness, relationships and conflict resolution, to encourage ambition and healthy development goals.

We at the Ministry care deeply about these issues and we stand ready to help the best way we can. Happy International Day of the Boy Child!


COVID-19 Alert!

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.