Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Reader Letter Disturbed Me On So Many Levels!

Had a reader letter on OneLove web site that disturbed me on so many levels it's not funny. He says:

I am a boy of 15 years of age, and am here just looking for sugar mommy or sugar daddy who can take care of me, i live in Ghana with my elder brother, so if u really want me u can send me a message on my yahoo ID ( ID deleted by me).

Thanks and hope to hear from u now…. bye.

So here are my issues:

1. What circumstances would force a child decide that he's willing to trade sex with an older partner for material gain?
2. The consequences of sugar daddy/sugar mommy relationships on young people ( including the fact that the younger partner usually does not have the power to negotiate using a condom)
3. The age of consent for sex in South Africa is 16. So this boy is not even old enough ( legally) to be considered to be giving conset.
4. He gave out his Yahoo profile, making him an easy target for every paedophile who doesn't mind the issues I raised above to contact him.
5. Chances are, OneLove was not the only web site where he put his message. Which means, even if OneLove readers donot respond, someone else still has the opportunity to do so.

My opinion matters?

I don't think it does in the great scheme of things. And I'm always surprised, even chuffed, when people approach me and imply that I am influential as a writer/blogger or journalist. Huh! I'm not so sure about that, but I won't argue too much, just in case whatever gloss they see on me actually rubs on and stays.

Had a call from a representative of a well-known brand product asking me to host something that sounds like a focus group ( but more informal) where users would discuss the product. I have nothing against the product, though I don't use it. But one of my family members needs it, and occassionally buys it.

Knowing how stressed I can get when I plan to entertain, I had to turn down the offer to host, but I will attend. If nothing else, I will learn more about the product, make some new friends and establish a tenuous contact with the company. I'll tell you more about them if I end up blogging about the meeting.

The conversation inspired me to approach Mica Hardware, my favourite hardware store, and suggest that I blog about their gardening products.

It would be one of the most enjoyable, and easiest, blogging gigs I could line up because:
a) I already love gardening
b) I already use some of their products and would love to use more.
c) I love chatting and writing about gardening, and already talk about it here.
d) Setting up a blog on the issue, to link with their web site, would be easy.

BUT, it would be a professional relationship ( i.e. money and/ goods would change hands) and I'm not a horticulturist, or see myself as an expert in any way.

So I don't know if they could be convinced that they want a veg gardening blog or even if they did, if I 'd offer them value.

But it's good that the idea is out there. Also sent an email to a foundation that has expressed interest in food security, to pitch a project on gardening with them. Huh!


Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

That readers letter is just about the saddest thing I've ever read.I don't even know what to say.

po said...

That boy's comment is just too sad. To be that desperate. I can't imagine it :(

Laura said...

Are those veggies yours? They are awesome!!

That story is very sad :( And rather disturbing!

Damaria Senne said...

Hey Laura

yes,the veggies are from my garden.

John Dobson said...

That boys post isnt as desperate as you housed, employed, educated people are making out. Take a trip to South East asian cities, such as Bangkok, Manila, Cebu, and see parents offering their baby children to sex tourists for a night, for a few pesos, meet kids physically as young as 8, but mentally as old as 20's or 30's selling themselves on the streets to anyone who looks affluent.
That 15 year old would be getting a pretty good deal compared to these little mites.

Damaria Senne said...

@John Dobson -you are probably right that, as compared to the kids you're talking about, this boy would get a better deal. But then, we're talking about degrees of bad, aren't we? And from where I'm standing, neither this boy, or the children you talk about, should have to have sex for money. And maybe I am being naive in wanting that, but I know aboout being poor. I'm Black and grew up in a village in Apartheid South Africa, and while I was fortunate enough to be able to improve my life, I have cousins and neighbours and former school friends who did not have that opportunity. And I know it's hard to get out from poverty, but selling our children is not an answer, even when the deal looks better than the worse deals out there.

That said, I also acknowledge that I can't change the world,and can't help boys like this one, and the children you mention.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the "who is poorer game" ever helps. Lives are always a mix of blessings and challanges. There is the macro, there is the micro, of course. But that still does not make a situation right. There are women who live in fine homes, with all they could ever dream of - yet their husband beats them. Still not right. Some things, regardless, are not right.

- Tiah (who can't comment as herself)

Damaria Senne said...

@tiah_ sorry you're still having problems commenting. That must be soo inconvenient!

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