PETALING JAYA: Children must be taught that certain parts of their body should not be touched by other people, said licensed counsellor Dr Anasuya Jegathevi Jegathesan.
She said it was important for children to know that inappropriate touching was not allowed, calling for them to “be educated on safe touch”.
Dr Anasuya, also a HELP University senior lecturer, explained that this was basically teaching children that it was all right for someone to touch their hands and feet, for example, but not the more personal areas.
She said children should learn that these prohibited areas would be those covered by a swimsuit and the thighs, and the rule would apply even if they were fully clothed.
Children must know when a touch was inappropriate, such as when it makes them uncomfortable, and that they should report it to their parents or an adult they trust.
She said it was important parents assure their child that he or she would be doing the right thing in reporting such an incident.
Teach them to follow their instincts, she said.
“It can be confusing for children when an adult tickling their sides ‘accidentally’ touches their private areas,” she said.
“It is important that they know it is all right for them to tell their parents or teachers about it.”
In Asian society, parents always teach children to obey adults, making it easy for paedophiles to take advantage, Dr Anasuya said.
“We train them to follow what aunty or uncle tells them.
“This is a blanket trust statement telling children that adults always want what’s best for them and that they are wrong to disobey,” she said.
She said paedophiles take advantage of this when they groom children, manipulating the child’s trust and obedience.
According to her, it would be better to teach children to obey adults but to speak out if they did anything that made them uncomfortable, even if it’s a relative or family friend.