Why do teen girls go missing?

DR YANSIE ROLSTON Monday, April 10 2017

EVERY time a female teenager is reported missing my heart sinks as I scroll through the deluge of negative comments crafted at the hands of armchair QSM (Qualified by Social Media) social workers and psychologist who, for the most part, appear to have excluded rationality and objectivity in their thought processes.

Whenever there has been a report of a missing female teen there follows a stream of negative comments and chastisement ranging from pronouncements of the severe beatings that should be inflicted on the youngster, to open confessions that if it were their daughter she would be handcuffed or locked away in a room. What is also distressing is the number of people who make the immediate supposition that the motives for leaving home is to seek sexual gratification, and that they somehow believe their opinion gives them liberty to describe the missing teens in the most vile crude terms.

These comments are very problematic because of the underlying assumption that the home life of the missing person is ideal and comfortable, and that they are just being indolent precocious youngsters. However, to address the situation appropriately, the actions of the missing teens needs to be understood within a wider social, cultural and political context.

So, with that in mind, I am asking the armchair QSM social workers and psychologists to stop for a minute and consider the rollercoaster of complexities that encompasses female teenagedom.

I am not advocating that we make excuses for teen misbehaviour, because we all know that they can be petulant know-it-alls (I remember my own teenage years and those of my children), but even though those female teens may be making poor choices they do not deserve to be demonised.

Let us not forget that part and parcel of adolescents and puberty is hormonal changes, its resultant physical and mental effects, and that accompanying phase of development when they begin to question their identity, push boundaries, and strive to assert independence and privacy.

According to www.understandingchildhood.

net, young people struggle to find their way from the uncertainties and confusion of puberty to fully-fledged adulthood as they meander different and conflicting pressures and role models.

There is also the often understated fact that a significant number of female teens live in unhealthy home situations which they find unacceptable, and some feel that they have no choice but to make the difficult decision to escape. I am sure you will not be surprised to know that there are households which are hotbeds of emotional, physical, psychological or sexual abuse, and gender-based discrimination, so the female teen flees to seek solace from emotional trauma, grief, habitual mistreatment or bullying.

In addition, unrealistic parental expectations puts undue pressures on conflicting young minds, and then there are those who may be living with mental health or intellectual challenges and vulnerabilities.

Given the myriad of reasons why girls go missing, and the harrowing experience it causes parents, guardians, friends and family, it is time to rethink and rebalance the political, social and cultural systems of caring. The negative commentary by the armchair QSM social workers is unhelpful, especially if the action of running away or “going missing” is a cry for help. Instead, the narrative should focus on positive awareness raising messages so that troubled teens know where they can get support to assist them in coping with, and unlocking some of their teenage troubles and angst.

For the commentators who beliefve that missing female teens are leaving home to co-habit and indulge in sex with unscrupulous men, your input would serve a more useful purpose if its focus was on self-care and protection, forming healthy romantic relationships, and the location of safe places of refuge.

I recall sometime ago The Honourable Prime Minister saying “You call on the Prime Minister to do something about crime, I’m not in your bedroom.” Mr Prime Minister my call to you to take an interest in what is happening in the bedrooms and households of some of our female teenagers who have the potential to run away, by injecting additional resources into the adolescent social care system so that evidence-based solutions can be implemented to reduce the numbers of missing teenage females from rising.

Why not share! These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Print

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *