Rape of disabled girl shows need for greater sex education in schools, says NGO


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 11 Dec 2019

PETALING JAYA: Protect and Save The Children (PS The Children) has urged for comprehensive sexuality education in all schools in light of a case where three teenagers had allegedly raped a disabled girl.

The non-governmental organisation, which works with children who are sexually abused and exploited, said it is a myth that sexual education can increase children’s involvement in “sexual activity”.

It added that a mindset shift would be crucial to bring about effective solutions, and that society needed to start looking at access to comprehensive sexuality education as “a natural part of growing up”.

“The public, especially adults, need to be aware of the fact that comprehensive sexuality education does not solely involve learning about ‘sex’ as many believe it to be.

“Comprehensive sexuality education actually encompasses learning about physical development, including sexual and reproductive health knowledge; gender identity; boundaries and consent; healthy relationships; friendships and social issues; to name a few components.

“It sits within the broader area of relationships which encourage children to understand and develop skills that will help them interact in a positive, respectful and supportive way with others, ” PS The Children said in a statement Wednesday (Dec 11), in reference to a case where an 18-year-old woman who is deaf and mute was allegedly raped by three teenagers.

The victim had used sign language to tell her father of the assault and identified the suspects who were aged between 14 and 16.

PS The Children added that comprehensive sexuality education would eventually reduce the risk of a child victimising others and also increase a child’s capacity to speak up and reach out for help when in harm’s way.

It noted that the recent rise in cases of child-on-child harm – such as children sexually harming other children – has caused alarm among the general public, adding that it was important that any action must take into consideration the underlying root cause.

“Should our focus be just the law, punitive measures and punishment? Or are there other important aspects that we need to explore when addressing this issue?” it said.

PS The Children added that since it believes that all children have the right to protection, even children in conflict with the law, it hoped that the accused children will be provided the necessary legal support.

“We hope that survivor too will be provided with the support and help needed during this traumatic time.

“Children who have sexually harmed other children have specific developmental needs that need to be addressed and could also pose unique risks related to their sexually harmful behaviours – which also need to be addressed.

“It is necessary to put into place treatment strategies and programmes that meet and address the developmental needs of these children ... (who) require support through therapy and counselling to unpack and manage the learned behaviours from an adult or through their own experiences of abuse, ” it said.

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