After 12 is Not Lunch

 The mother kisses her 13-year-old daughter goodbye, telling her to enjoy her afternoon with an older man.

The expression “after 12 is lunch” has been used in Tobago for many years, primarily by men, to indicate that they are willing to have sex with a girl once she passes the age of 12. In fact, the expression assumes that a 12-year-old girl is sexually mature and available, and this is especially so if the girl’s physical development is more noticeable.

To fight against this gender-based violence against young girls and women, the High Commission of Canada to Trinidad and Tobago, through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, supported 10 educational YouTube videos as part of the “After 12 is Not Lunch” project.

This video series explores how girls are sometimes seen as sexual objects following puberty and consequently, how this often motivates a continued cycle of abuse and sexual violence. The series looks at various aspects of gender-based violence in Tobago and offers some insight into how it can be addressed.

The daughter cries for help from a higher power.

Joseph Jordan shares his views about the video.

Raising public awareness about gender-based violence

In addition to supporting the project, the High Commission partnered with The Lily Foundation for Human Development and hosted a screening of the first of the ten “After 12 is Not Lunch” videos, called “Mother Pimp.”

Young male and female residents from the community of Moriah, Tobago, watched the screening and later engaged in an extremely candid discussion concerning the possible reasons why gender-based violence occurs, and practical solutions for it.  

As a result of the project and the screening, heavy discussion about gender-based violence has been sparked across the island with several people commending “After 12 is Not Lunch.” New videos from the project are continually uploaded onto YouTube and promoted throughout social media.

Canada continues to support initiatives that raise public awareness about gender-based violence to promote women’s rights and achieve gender equality worldwide.

The older man agrees to pay and leads the 13-year-old away.