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Monday, October 2, 2023

Letters to the Editor

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Right decisions are not difficult to take

Dear editor,

Taking right decisions is not difficult after all. Bravo Pres. Barrow for your decision on SSHFC!
As president you have immense resources and capacity in different places to enable you to reach the right decision. Even without the independent committee the SSHFC Board was enough and rightfully empowered to give you the right information and analysis to enable you take the right decision!
Ultimately your legacy and salvation lies in those right decisions, provided you avail yourself of all the necessary resources and capacities! To govern is not difficult if one is imbued with the right sense, determination and commitment to do the right!
This country needs lot of right decisions from you to transform our society, Government and its institutions in order to create a new Gambia!
Please take the right decisions on a host of other issues. Urgently! This is where legacy and salvation lies tomorrow!

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Madi Jobarteh



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Grooming and the abuse of power

Dear editor,

He gains her trust, then starts the grooming process through bribery and manipulation. In this instance with the showering of gifts and presents and supposed generosity to friends and close relatives. It is unsolicited kindness or philanthropy but a huge part of grooming…. Through the gifts and presents, you and all who receive from him become financially dependent. You are entrapped. His beneficiaries, your relatives, see him as the good man, godsend to take them out of poverty or cash strapped situation. They are ensnared and become a tool he can manipulate.

Then his sexual advances and exploitation will start. If you reject them, he blackmails you. He reminds you of all the gifts he has given you, of how ungrateful you are. It is a ploy to make you feel very guilty, to blame yourself for taking the gifts, to acquiesce under his pressure. Family members who have eaten from his hands put pressure on you to succumb, castigate you for trying to deny them the good life promised. He coerces you to accept, tells you no one will believe your story. If you do not have enough life skills or great support system around you, then a big victim you would be.

Most of us men use the grooming process to entice, manipulate and abuse. We know how to overcome the 4 preconditions or barriers espoused by David Finkelhor: the motivation to abuse; our internal inhibitor or conscience; the external inhibitors and the victim’s resistance….

In the scheme of such things, and at the epicenter of such exploitative relationship, is “POWER”, how we use or misuse it, how we exploit it to the maximum. There is inequality in the relationship. Money gives power. Age gives power. Being a man, and in a patriarchal society as our being male, gives power- society believes men more than it does women especially in matters sexual. So the power, age, status differentials give man a lot of power over woman. Imagine if there was equality in power, age, status.

Unless we understand grooming and the role of “power” in exploitative relationships, we would always continue to blame and bash victims instead of being understanding and empathetic. Thus, the victim is told “why did you accept his gifts if you don’t love him?”; “Why did you marry him?”; “You are a gold digger”. She is the temptress, the evil one. She cannot be forced. Typical of a misogynistic society, one conditioned to see the woman as the liar in matters of sensuality. Unfortunate…. And what is terrifying, but understandable, is the scathing and uncharitable criticism and pillory that women themselves can subject such a victim to. The fellow feeling is thrown through the window and they gang up with men to make mincemeat of her predicament.
Where the victim needs understanding, we chastise; where the victim needs truth, we show a holier than thou behaviour; where we should empathise, we condemn.

It is a man’s world. When men betray, brutalize, violate, disappoint, harass the lady they claim to love, we normalize the behaviour of the man and trivialize, minimalise and pooh pooh the suffering of the lady. Patience is the name of a woman, we preach.
It is a man’s world. Until our women understand this reality and band and bond together, in solidarity and with fellow feeling for each other, to fight male chauvinism and masculinity, men would continue to use “divide and rule” to stay atop and milk the privileges that patriarchy gives. There is strength in unity.

Njundu Drammeh

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