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Protecting your child

Protect your child from potential sex crimes and what to do if the unimaginable happens.

Child Safety

There are lots of predators out there, even in Singapore. It only takes 5 minutes for a pervert to change your child's and your life forever. Sexual molestations and assaults are more common than you think, they are under-reported as parents try to forget the traumatising incident. The majority of perpetrators are people you and your child know or are familiar with, it could even be a relative, friend or caregiver. In all things, we must face adversity squarely in order to overcome it.

The following are true incidents and not urban myths :

  • The 4 year old son of someone I know was molested by the driver who sends him to kindergarten. The middle-aged man touched the little boy's private parts on several occasions.
  • My daughter's classmate in her previous pre-school was molested by a teacher in her previous pre-school. She showed signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by bullying and being very aggressive to other kids including my daughter.
  • Police case in Singapore : A swimming coach sexually assaulted a 5 year old boy. He claimed that the child made the first move! These deviants will make any excuse to justify their ghastly behaviour.
  • There have been attempted kidnappings in Hong Kong of small children in crowded areas and shopping centres. One friend saw an inconsolable mother in Hong Kong Disneyland whose son had disappeared. The mother was still crying and refused to leave the area 4 hours later.
  • Another friend told of a Singaporean couple whose son was sold by his maid to a stranger in Shanghai. The parents are still searching for him 4 years later.
  • There have been incidents of boys being molested in the toilets of public pools in Singapore.

Better Safe than Sorry

I believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take simple and basic steps in protecting your child, it really is worth the trouble. I ferry my children everywhere when possible. Watch them carefully when they are participating in most activities. Take all reasonable precautions by checking the area that your child is going to, or the pre-school or kindergarten that he is attending.

I may sound very extreme, but I checked out more than 20 pre-schools and kindergartens before selecting the one I wanted. While on holiday, my children carry a Child Safety GPS Tracker and Locator each. It enables me to keep track of them in case of an emergency and they can call me any time without having to remember my mobile number.

What to do if the unimaginable has happened?

If this most terrible of things should happen and your child was sexually molested, report it to the police immediately. In Singapore, the medical assistance provided is invaluable. The victim must see medical specialists and psychiatrists to certify that they are recovering.

Parents play such a huge role in their child's recovery. You must reassure your child that they weren't to blame for something so awful happening to them. She should not feel any shame or guilt because of what happened. It really wasn't her fault.

Think that it is better to just forget about it? Maybe the child can forget the incident if everyone just pretended nothing happened? What's worse is that the pervert is probably someone you know and trust, perhaps a relative, a friend or someone you and your child know and recognize. You don't want to cause any conflict in the family? It is too late for that. These concerns are not ours, the pervert who committed the acts didn't care about the relationship that he had with you or your family.

Speaking from personal experience, I was molested by my nanny's son when I was 9 years old. I was naive and didn't understand what was going on. I told my nanny about it, she told me that he did what he did because he loved me! But of course, she didn't dare to let him come over to my house again. I kind of put the matter at the back of my mind. But as a late teen, I recalled everything that happened. I became very angry with my parents for not protecting me, though they didn't even know that anything had happened and I still hadn't told them about it. I was just this rebellious child in the house arguing with them all the time.

Don't get me wrong, I am a naturally optimistic and sunny person as you can see from my website. I alternated between being happy to this dark place where I would cry uncontrollably and would be almost suicidal. My husband who is a doctor saved my life literally. He talked to me and gradually, I came to accept that this terrible thing did happen to me, but I couldn't let this incident that happened so long ago stand in the way of my future happiness.

Think about it : The perpetrators in fact tried to ruin and destroy the lives of their victims just for their own sexual gratification. If we let them win and are unhappy, they are still perpetuating their crimes decades later.

You never, ever truly forget something so traumatic happening to you. But you can accept that it did happen and move on. I had actually gone through the cycle of Denial to Anger to Acceptance to Recovery.

To provide closure for your child and move them through the above-mentioned cycle as fast as possible, you, the parent must show your child that you have done everything in your power to bring the perpetrator to justice. Then and only then, can your child come to terms with what has happened and put the incident where it belongs, in the past.

Something must be done to show your child that though she was helpless, mommy and daddy tried to punish the pervert on her behalf. Otherwise the signal sent by parents who try to hide what happened or pretend that nothing happened, just pushes the matter underground. It goes septic and poisonous, that's why you read of abused children who grow up being self-destructive, suffering mental instability leading to depression and even suicide.

The pain and hurt resulting from the incident is never treated and alleviated. Worse are the victims who later become predators themselves, leading to more pain and suffering. Yes, you are crying everyday and you can't sleep. Your child is bewildered by what is happening. When you close your eyes, you keep imagining what your baby had to endure, your heart almost bursts because of the unbearable pain you feel. Let me tell you now that time really will help. You may still feel anger towards the perpetrator, but you will one day be happy again. Take those steps one at a time to help your child and family recover.


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