Recently, the death of a 26-year old female writer from Taiwan has spread throughout China. She chose to hang herself because of the trauma she suffered at the hands of her teacher. Although the incident happened 13 years ago (when she was 13), she continued to be tormented by long-term depression.
This topic raises a heated discussion about child sexual assault. Maybe some of you think of it as a subject far away from us. But, is that true? In 2006, the Institute for Oriental Western Human Sexuality (IOWHS) conducted a survey that interviewed 200 Chinese teenagers. The results found that 19.3% of them experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault at least once before turning 12 years old (verbal harassment 12.5%, touch or kiss breasts or hip 11.2%, touch or kiss genitals 9.8%, expose genitals 7.2%, attempted rape 3.6%, and rape 2.5%).
In 2016 alone, there were 433 cases of child sexual assault (under 14 years old) reported in the news. In short, at least one child is sexually assaulted every day on average. Moreover, officials have identified that the rate of hushed-up cases is something like seven in eight. In other words, for each case that is reported, seven are not. Among these, more than 70% are committed by people with intimate connections, such as elders and teachers. They have a certain stateliness or omnipotence, while parents have no inkling of what they are doing.
What’s worse, in Asia, many parents regard sex as monstrous and sexual education as shameful. Many of us have no idea even how we came to be when we were young. Familial relationships become very strained after parents realise their own child has become a victim. Many of them feel shamed or disgraced and choose to keep silent or even swear their children to secrecy! After being assaulted, a young writer asked her mother, “Mum, what’s your opinion of a student who has been sexually assaulted?” The answer: “That must have happened because the girl was asking for it!” Parents, please! Sexual education for children is never, ever something filthy. It is a protective umbrella for their safety. If a child cannot even describe clearly where he/she has been touched when suffering from sexual assault, how can they get proper protection!
Written by Valentina Tu.