Materia Medica Malaysiana

January 29, 2006

Protecting young victims of sex abuse

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:53 am

NST: Tracey (not her real name) was only 14 but she was labelled a slut in her small town of 5,000 people.
She was a friendly and average-looking girl who could easily be forgotten or even ignored.
But news of her first pregnancy flew fast around the town and the people reacted. They shunned her.
She stopped going to school when her pregnancy became obvious. Two more pregnancies followed, and the town was swirling with rumours about her “wild” life. They never talked to her but always talked about her.
In the first two pregnancies, no hospital staff enquired about how she became pregnant at such a young age. Nor did they ask who the father was.
They just assumed he was someone she slept with during her “wild nights”. Tracey also never gave any explanations.
It was during her third pregnancy, when she was 16, that the truth of her pregnancies became known.
A new doctor at the hospital who took her case, noticed that she had been pregnant two times before. He asked her who the baby’s father was.
“The father is my father,” she answered. It was later learnt that Tracey’s father raped her whenever he fancied.
It is still unclear if her siblings knew what happened to their sister or if they were victims themselves. Nothing is known about her mother.
The hospital reported the case to the Social Welfare Department. Her father was detained.
Tracey, who is now in her 20s, never knew the gender of her babies. They were taken away for adoption.
Her case was highlighted by the Protect and Save the Children Association of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, an organisation that counsels sexually-abused children and creates public awareness on such abuse.
Aggy Hooi, a counsellor with the organisation, said most of the cases reported showed that the victims were sexually abused by someone they knew.
“It could be their father, uncle, brother, baby-sitter, bus driver or neighbour,” she said.
The victims are usually stigmatised and blamed by the culprits.
“The victims are told they deserve to be raped because they are not good,” said Hooi.
The culprits also use material or emotional rewards to lure children to have sex with them.
“They will say to the child, ‘I love you, you are special’ to draw the children closer to them. Or they are given gifts.
“The child grows up believing that if she wants love and attention, she just needs to have sex,” said Hooi.
Police statistics showed two thirds of the 1,760 rape cases reported in 2004 involved children.

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