Parental judgement and vigilance

ChildrenIn Malacca, it was reported that an eight-year-old girl remains traumatised having been molested by her 14-year old neighbour earlier this month. She told her parents that the teenage boy had pulled down her panties before molesting her, and spanking her bottom. The incident happened when her parents and siblings were out.

This was not the first encounter between the two. The little girl had complained to her parents about being bullied, many times before, by the same boy.

For the past two weeks, the little girl has been unwilling to go to school and refuses to be separated from her parents.

Her father lodged a police report on 7 February, saying that the neighbour’s son had broken into his house, at sunset, and molested his daughter.

The Jasin district police say that the teenager will be investigated under Section 354 of the Penal Code.

It is right that the boy is being investigated but why did the parents leave a little girl at home, on her own? She is only eight (8) years old. Are the parents being irresponsible? Or is it the norm to leave a child at home, on her own.

The little girl had on previous occasions, complained to her parents that she had constantly been bullied by the boy. Did her parents address their daughter’s complaints?

Did they speak to the father of the teenageer?

Or did they disbelieve their daughter? Perhaps, they thought she was making-up stories ?

Perhaps, they thought that neighbours would never dream of doing anything like that, to their neighbour? Studies have shown that sexual abuse of children is commonly perpetrated by someone that is known to the victim and to the victim’s family.

This is a tragic story, made all the more shocking because the parents had been warned by their little girl, before. Had any action been taken?

Some people may agree, that it is irresponsible of parents to go out and to leave an eight-year-old at home, on her own. Others say that the parent knows his child best, and if she is mature. Thus,  only the parent can make the judgment if the child is ready to be left alone, at home.

What do you think?

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In another tragic incident, also involving a young child, a 12-year-old boy drowned in a hotel pool in Penang. The family were on holiday and the boy, together with his father and two younger siblings, had gone for a swim in the swimming pool. Although there were other people around, the father did not notice that his son was missing until thirty minutes later, by which time, he discovered his son, in middle of the adult pool. Efforts to resuscitate his son, proved unsuccessful.

After the drowning, the little boy’s mother alleged that a hotel employee had admitted that the lifeguard was not on duty because it was Chinese New Year.

Her story was contradicted by the hotel management who allegedly  told police that the 12-year-old boy had been warned not to swim in the adult pool, but had chosen to ignore the advice.

As there was no lifeguard on duty, had the hotel placed signboards by the pool, to notify hotel guests using the pool, that the lifeguard was not there, and that the hotel will not be held responsible should anyone get into difficulties while swimming?

During the holidays, when it is forecast that hotel occupancy rates are high, the pool would probably be used a lot. Was the hotel unable to source a relief lifeguard?

On the other hand, if you were a hotel employee, how do you stop a hotel guest, from using the pool? There have been cases where staff have been told off, by hotel guests, for being “busy-bodies” or “rude” and warned to mind their own business.

In a large crowd, how do you find out who the parents of the child are, especially if he ignores you, as you are “only a member of staff”?

Children may think they are good swimmers, and some will also tend to wander off. Even several people miling around, is no guarantee that someone will keep an eye on the child, especially if he or she is not their own family member.

People will be preoccupied, with their own friends or family, and may not be aware that the young boy had been in difficulties. His mother said that there had been many people around, but this will only mean that there will be lots of noise and activity. An Australian pool-users guide states, “Drowning children don’t cry out for help and wave to be rescued – they disappear under the surface – often unseen and unheard.”

No one can even begin to imagine the pain of the parents at the loss of their child.

Adults need to be vigilant whenever a child is in or near a pool.


Rebuilding Malaysia

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