Nations’ flowers need more protection from sexual abuse

By Sun Xiaobo Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/17 21:13:40

In the past four days, three cases in which underage girls were molested were exposed in different parts of China, triggering heated discussions about child protection on social media.

The sexual abuse of children has been a long-standing issue. According to statistics by the Supreme People's Court of China, courts across the country heard 10,782 cases of child sexual abuse between 2013 and 2016, which means of the cases we know about, seven children were sexually abused every day on average. Other statistics show that about 92 percent of victims of sexual abuse were girls.

The recent intensive disclosure of such cases and heated debate implies that the public is now paying more attention to the issue, which shows how society is progressing.

But these known cases are just the tip of the iceberg. There are undoubtedly many more cases to be uncovered and a raft of underlying problems to be dealt with.

Sexually abused children have not only suffered physically, but more importantly, there are psychological wounds that are long-lasting and can have serious effects.

But what is quite worrying is that in two of the cases, when a young man fondled the chest of his adoptive younger sister in a railway station in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, and a middle-aged man put his hands down the pants of his niece in a hospital in Chongqing, the guardians of the two girls saw nothing wrong and did nothing to stop the offenders. What's worse, they likely deemed the filthy move as an affectionate one.

It is likely that along with the guardians, the children had been given little education about how to recognize abuse. Such ignorance and apathy can be seen everywhere. And since most offenders are relatives or acquaintances, the abuse is prone to be swept under the carpet.

Chinese society needs to be more aware of and attach sufficient importance to the problem of sexual abuse. As most Chinese adults are often reluctant to talk about sexual matters to children due to traditional conservatism, children know little about protecting themselves from molestation. There should be more efforts to give children extensive sexual education so that they can be fully conscious of the offense and seek protection.

Moreover, efforts are needed to improve related laws and regulations to crack down on sexual abuse. And measures should be taken to impart the fundamental knowledge of these laws and regulations to the public. Molestation, once it happens, should be dealt with immediately with zero tolerance and offenders given harsh punishment so as to warn and deter others. There is a saying in China that children are the flowers of the country. To protect them from being trampled on, we need to do more.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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