PETALING JAYA: Fear of shaming their family, stigma from society and victim blaming are among the major reasons why many sexual grooming cases go unreported, according to panellists at a forum here.
Kembara Kitchen founder William Cheah cited a case where a charity volunteer was arrested for allegedly sexually grooming underage girls he met via charity events and churches he volunteered at.
Cheah said more than 30 victims stepped forward to tell their stories, but a majority of them did not follow up with a police report despite the police encouraging them to do so.
In one case, Cheah said a victim claimed that she slept with the alleged paedophile when she was 14, more than 10 years ago.
“The victim declined to make a police report because when she told her parents, they said it would be shameful if people found out and it will be hard for her to find a future partner,” Cheah said at the “I’m So Into You – Sexual Abuse & Grooming Awareness” forum here yesterday.
Social activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi said the youngest sexual grooming victim he has met was only nine when she got impregnated by her perpetrator, who was in his 40s.
“He convinced her that it was love and she believed it. She is now 13 and still traumatised by it.”
Psychologist Dr Ng Wai Sheng said the predator will brainwash himself to justify his motive and action. Then he would make himself indispensable or appear trustworthy.
They then convince the victim by saying that they share a special relationship, giving bribes or threats.
Dr Ng said eight out of 10 sexual abuse victims knew their abusers.
Insp Ashraf Chai of the police’s Sexual Investigation Unit (D11) said predators often look for victims online as they could hide behind anonymity.
He cited a case in 2015, where Malaysian engineer Yap Weng Wah, who would befriend his victims via Facebook, was jailed for 30 years and given 24 strokes of the cane in Singapore after pleading guilty to sexually grooming 31 boys aged between 11 and 15.