A growing rot that needs to be dealt with urgently

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

It’s been tough reading the paper during the past few days. Some headlines have certainly grabbed the attention with the lingering question being, what is wrong with some of our people today?

The first story was in the Sunday Samoan under the headline “Brother and sister investigated for incest.” Well the headline says it all, doesn’t it? 

According to Acting Police Commissioner, Sala’a Moananu Sale, the brother and sister go to the same church where the Pastor has become suspicious about their activities. As a result, he has reported the matter to the Police who have since launched an investigation. If the Police confirm the allegation, the brother and sister will be charged. 

Keep in mind that if charges are filed, they will not be the first case in Samoa of this nature. We have had similar cases in the past where we thought it would be the last. But the idea that in 2017 and these incidents are continuing in Christian-state Samoa really does boggle the mind.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, another story on the front page of the Samoa Observer on Monday was equally disturbing. Under the headline “Man charged for making 13-year-old girl his wife,” the story details how the Police had charged a man in his early 40s for sexually violating a 13-year-old girl whom he has made his wife.”

“Initially the matter was reported to the police at Tuasivi as assault,” Sala’a told the media.

“However the police found out that the accused’s wife is a 13-year-old victim. The accused has been in prison before and he has had previous convictions of theft and burglary.”

So how did the Police find out about this little secret?

“The victim is the wife of the accused. He assaulted her and she reported the incident to the police,” Sala’a explained. “So when the police investigated the matter they found out through her birth certificate that she is just 13-years-old but they are living as a couple.”

This is even more troubling. 

So if the girl did not report the matter to the Police when she was assaulted, this would never have surfaced. Which begs the question, where are her parents? What kind of parents would allow their 13-year-old daughter to be made the wife of anyone? This is absolutely sickening. Here is a young girl who could possibly still be in primary school and yet she has already become a housewife? What is wrong with these people?

And if that did not make you angry, this next story will certainly do that. 

Yesterday, a story titled “Police furious about new baby sex case” was beyond this writer.  The story is about the sexual violation of two babies, aged two and six, by their male babysitter.

 “The mother of the victims informed the police that her two daughters ages six and two have been sexually violated by the accused,” Sala’a said. 

“The accused is said to be a friend of the mother. It’s unclear whether he’s the boyfriend, but one thing for sure is that he’s a friend of the mother who was babysitting the girls.”

According to Sala’a, the mother works, leaving her girls with the man.

 “This is the time the alleged sexual violation occurs.”

The mother could also face charges of being negligent with her children.

In the meantime, the Police has issued a stern warning to parents to be vigilant about whom they leave their children with. Sala’a stressed that “children should be protected from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parents and legal guardians.” 

We couldn’t agree more with the Police.

But in looking at all these three cases, you really have to ask the question, what has become of morality in Samoa today? 

Where is the church? What is it doing to stop such repulsive incidents involving immorality of the worst form and violation of basic human rights for these girls?

Let us be reminded today that Samoa has just become an official Christian state.

Don’t get us wrong. We don’t oppose Samoa becoming a Christian state. 

The decision is not necessarily a bad thing and when the actions of this country follow our declaration it can be a most wonderful development.

But let’s stop kidding ourselves. 

Samoa today is a mess if you use these cases as a measuring stick. That’s because the leaders have allowed corruption and abuse of power to flourish. And enshrining Christianity in our Constitution does not automatically weed out the corruption, abuse and collusion we’ve been talking about for years, which continues to hurt our people on a daily basis.

The fact is Christianity is not supposed to be a label you wear. It is a daily lifestyle that reflects a person’s intimate relationship with his God. It’s a personal matter that you don’t need to shout from the rooftop. 

Anybody can claim to be a Christian, which is probably the biggest problem in Samoa today. But it’s their integrity and actions which prove who they really are. And that’s what matters.

If Samoa wants to make a point about being a Christian state, our behaviour would do a better job to reflect that than another change to the Constitution. 

Truth be told, there are far too many dysfunctional families in this country. 

In these families, wives are constantly beaten by their abusive husbands for one reason or another. The same men cheat on their wives as if that’s normal. 

Women are not blameless though. Some also cheat on their husbands and somehow we’ve developed an attitude of complacency that says it’s part of life.

All this happens before the eyes of young children.

We live in a time where the moral fibre of society is truly being tested. There are problems with violence, drugs, sex and all sorts of issues involving young people. The question is; where do they learn such behaviour? 

If you are a parent, don’t blame anyone else. Stop blaming Kopai, Koko and Kaloti’s children for your children’s behaviour. Look at yourself. I need to look at myself, do a self-inventory first before I look elsewhere. 

The truth is that what is happening at home determines a lot of what is happening in Samoa today. Charity after all starts at home. Think about it.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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