By now, most of the country would have heard about the damning evidence brought before the courts in regards to Reynold Robinson, a well-known music teacher at Jack Hayward High School on the island of Grand Bahama.
He is being accused of indecent assault. He sent text messages to a little girl encouraging her to not be afraid to barter for more than just lunch. He lets her know that it would obviously cost her, but should she be willing to pay the price of not only her innocence, but her dignity as well, he’d be willing to give her fifty dollars. That’s how much she’s worth to him. That’s how much she and hundreds of girls and boys across this country have learnt their lives are worth to men and women like Robinson. In most cases, they’re worth much less.
When the news first broke, the common reaction was “He at it again?” and “ Ine surprised”. We have a sickening culture of secrecy in our country. Well-known men and women get away with the dirtiest of deeds and are allowed to hold on to their positions with an ironclad grip. Our communities are able to whisper about these misdeeds while publicly praising and promoting the men and women that are actively responsible for society’s decay. So, when a man like Robinson is made to enact the walk of shame from the holding cells of the police station and hauled before the courts in broad daylight; when his sins are read before a public audience and there is literally nowhere else to turn, the public itself will never be shocked by the grotesque underbelly of our community because they knew exactly where the bodies were buried.
A few weeks ago when the Commissioner of Police made his statement about men being weak hence the reason for their willingness to commit suicide, the general public called for a public apology. One which he never gave. He instead did what most men in his position do: deflect. He blamed the media for being too pushy, and his choice of words were a result of a high pressure situation. He was not called to task by those above him and with two weeks having gone by I assume he’ll never be held accountable.
I can imagine why the Commissioner of Police would have been so surprised by the backlash he received to the words he used and the harshness behind them. He was probably surprised because he had used similar words and similar tones before. We were so focused on his comment about suicide that we forgot the offhanded statement about missing girls that was made in the summer of 2020. We forgot the callous way in which he reported that “The majority of people who went missing for the first half of the year were “adolescent females engaging in sexual intercourse”. He was probably surprised because what he said about little girls going missing, oftentimes in the presence of men twice their age, resonated heavily with a public who would often share the missing posters with captions that read “She probably by man”. The Robinsons of this country have been made comfortable by a society that chooses to demonize young girls for the old men that find them disgustingly attractive.
If the Commissioner of Police himself, a man whose job it is to protect those most vulnerable in society, can give an offhanded statement about the destiny of the little girls lured into the traps of grown men, their lives have been systematically and authoritatively deemed as worthless. These young people who are hurt by this system and by men and women like Robinson, will find the moment the harmful adult gaze was set on them to be the hardest hurdle to jump. They will battle feelings of depression, a lack of self worth, troubles with intimacy and many more issues that I honestly cannot list. The decision one girl made to be brave speaks volumes of her character. She has lit the way so that others may feel comfortable enough to tell their own stories. For that? We must not only applaud them but we must show them that their own mental and physical sacrifices were not in vain.
Robinson’s actions didn’t happen within a vacuum, they affected real life people and will traumatize more than just one generation. Robinson didn’t act alone. He had a community of Teachers, Senior Mistresses, Senior Masters, Vice Principals, Principals, District Education Officers, and District Superintendents to help him. He had a general public that preferred gossip over morality. He had the privilege of class, demeanor and distinction on his side. There are more like him and them out there.