Sex education uncovers a rape of child

Sex education in schools is important. -Pix from Google

By Huzraifah Atikah

The importance of sex education in schools cannot be underestimated as demonstrated in a rape case in Sabah.

A women’s group in Sabah highlighted the need for sex education in schools following the case of an 11-year-old girl who told her teacher that she had been raped.

The girl only realised that her stepfather had been raping her after a sex education class at her school. 

She told her teacher what had been happening and the girl’s mother was alerted and a police report was also lodged.

It resulted in the subsequent arrest of her 50-year-old farmer stepfather, who was then sentenced to 27 years in jail by the Sessions Court.

It was also revealed that the girl’s stepfather had been raping her repeatedly over a period of one year. 

The Sabah Women’s Action Resources Group president Winnie Yee has since renewed her calls for sex education to be implemented in all schools in the state. 

She said the incident proved that sex education matters and could even prompt victims to seek help.

Yee said that her organisation had been fighting to ensure that children, even as young as four to five years old, are taught about sex.

According to a 2017 report by the Woman’s Aid Organisation (WAO) on incest cases by state, the highest is in Sabah with 21.8% of the total cases reported, followed by Selangor 13.4% and Johor 12.6%. 

Next, is Perak with 8.8%, Kedah 8%, Kelantan 6.9%, Pahang 6.5%, Penang 5.3%, Negeri Sembilan 4.6%, Malacca 4.2%, Sarawak 3.4%, Terengganu 2.7%, Kuala Lumpur 1.5% and Perlis with 0.4%. 

According to WAO, this is the age breakdown of incest victims between 2013 and 2017 in Malaysia:

“We are now working on having the state Education Department expand sex education to all schools in Sabah.

“Every school needs to have someone who can handle and talk about these issues,” Yee said.

Undoubtedly, sex education is one of the most effective ways to prevent sexual abuse and to reduce incest cases. 

Yee said there are many instances where adults touch children inappropriately but children do not understand that it is wrong.

“We need to teach them the boundaries (of private parts), especially since the culprits are usually family members of the victims,” she added. 

Yee said it was fortunate that sex education was taught in the girl’s school and even more fortunate that the teacher took immediate action upon hearing her story.

Imagine if there’s no sex education in her school,  the girl might not have known that rape was wrong and the suspect will certainly go unpunished. 

Yee said this was just the tip of the iceberg as there are many districts in Sabah where this kind of issues goes unreported.

But what’s even more upsetting is that many of these children simply do not understand what was happening to them and don't talk about it to anyone. 

“Teachers have a big responsibility in being the eyes and ears (of the authorities), and they must know how to take action when students confide in them,” she said.

Yee also explained that sex education does not mean that students are taught about sexual activities.

Rather, children are taught about inappropriate behaviour, especially what to do when adults who are close to them take advantage of them.

Every little girl needs to be protected, that is why teaching them safe touch in a sex education class will make them understand what’s right and wrong. 

This case shows the importance of sex education class.