What I Learned From A Tragic Child Sex Abuse Case

What I Learned From A Tragic Child Sex Abuse Case

NSPCCIt was the horrific news  of sexual abuse at the Jakarta International School in Indonesia that spread the nation like a wild fire.

It was every parent’s nightmare.

It raised safety issues in school.

My son’s school is installing security cameras outside of the children’s toilets and carrying out special program called “Personal Body Safety” to teach children as early as first grade about it. And most importantly, it opened up discussions between parents and their children and that’s what happened between my son and me.

It was the news that made me read as much information as I could about child sexual abuse. By reading some really helpful articles, I realized it was time to start introducing the ‘real words’ for body parts with my son.

Yes, I had read that one is supposed to use the correct biological terms when you teach your children about their body part but I guess my own personal upbringing prevented me from doing this before. When I grew up, I did not even know what my private parts were called. My parents and their parents’ parents never openly discussed this. Sexuality was a taboo discussion back then, and sadly it carries on into today’s generations, here, in Indonesia.

At first I was uncomfortable in teaching my son to say “penis” now instead of “pee-pee”, but once I realized how this was NOT about me and my uncomfortableness, but something more important, made it easier. This is about me teaching him the right words. We talked about private body parts and how no one should touch them other than doctors IF he is sick and his private parts needs to be examined. We talked about the PANTS and how he needs to avoid being in a situation where adults are getting too close to his private parts.

Such a fine line between educating them and not scaring our children but it is very important to teach them about the boundaries and about protecting themselves. The statistics are so disturbing that your daughter has a 1 in 4 chance and your son has a 1 in 6 chance of being molested before the age of 18. Other than teaching them about private body parts I think it is also important to teach our children to listen to their guts and trust their instincts. I pray hard that my boy and all the children of the world will never have to experience such a traumatic thing but I realize knowledge and awareness are power. So we sit and watched this short movie together, my boy and I.

He asked me questions and I answered them the best that I could. Discussions went on. Yet, I realized we will have to talk about this often to instill in him about the safety parts not to scare him.

How do you talk to your children about sexual abuse?

Here is a very helpful link from the NSPCC site.

This is an original post by our World Mom,  Maureen of “Scoops of Joy” in Indonesia for World Moms Blog.

Photo credit to the author. 


Founder of Single Moms Indonesia, community leader and builder. Deeply passionate about women empowerment.

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EGYPT: Zeina’s Story Could Be Any Child’s

EGYPT: Zeina’s Story Could Be Any Child’s

Prevent child abuseZeina was a 5-year-old girl living with her family in Port Said, a city on the Suez Canal in Egypt. She was the youngest of three children.

One fateful day, Zeina was playing in front of the door of her apartment. The porter was going to the roof of the building and by chance, the lift stopped at the floor where Zeina was playing. He found her playing alone with no one watching her, so he took the girl with him to the roof. On the roof was another guy, a friend of the porter, waiting for him. There was something on their minds that Zeina didn’t and couldn’t possibly know.

Their intention was to violate the innocence of that beautiful and chubby child. They wanted to rape her, but they couldn’t as she started to scream. They then quickly realized that her mother had found out that she was missing and all the buildings’ inhabitants had started looking for her in the street. To hide what they had done, the two guys decided to get rid of Zeina, so they threw her from the seventh floor to the back of the building.

The cold-hearted criminals then came downstairs pretending not to know anything about her and went to look for Zeina with the family. The family eventually found the little girl bleeding in the back area of the building and took her to the hospital but she died. The police investigated, found Zeina’s killers and arrested them. They were accused of killing her.

The family—as did everyone following Zeina’s story—expected the criminals to be condemned to death but instead they were condemned to only 15 years in jail. It was shocking for all of us but the problem is that the two accused guys were a few months under age 18 and there is a law that prevents condemning any young man below 18 to death no matter what his crime is.

The criminals were laughing, smiling and showing the victory sign inside their cell, while Zeina’s poor mother was screaming and crying very hard. The judge apologized to Zeina’s family as he could do nothing about it, it’s the law. Even the father of one of the killers said “My son deserves to be condemned to death 5 times for his crime”.

The story of Zeina summarizes the story of hundreds, thousands or maybe millions of children who are sexually abused every day all over the world.

And sadly, Zeina’s story is not the only one. A few months later another little girl named Hoda was raped mercilessly, choked to death and beaten with a stone to her head. Hoda was just 4.5 years-old playing in front of her house in her village in Meniah, a city in Upper Egypt. Hoda was raped and killed by her neighbor. Her dead body was found totally naked and bleeding in a house under construction.

A few days before Hoda was raped and killed, Eman a 13 years old girl was killed as well. The criminal choked her to death after failing to rape her and to be sure she died he stabbed her with a knife several times and then threw her body in the canal. Her family found her the following day, floating on the surface of the water. The guy accused of her murder is her father’s cousin, a member of the family. Hoda and Eman’s murderers may be condemned to death as they are over 18 years old.

Every few weeks we wake up with another story of a new Zeina in the newspapers, a young child or a teenage girl who is raped and killed mercilessly by a teenager or an adult. Not only has the child been put through horrors no one should know, but the whole family continues to suffer the pain of loss and the guilt of not being able to protect their child.

Zeina’s mother on TV,  apologized to her young daughter for not being there to protect her and save her when she was screaming and calling for help. I couldn’t control my tears when I watched that. Sometimes there is also shame on the family’s part that their daughter has been raped. This is especially true in rural areas. Eman’s family was relieved when they realized  that the criminal failed to rape her. It was obvious in their words when they announced that on the TV with great pride and honor.

Sexual abuse against children is something that any family could fall victim to because we seem unable to protect children from it`. There seems to be no end in sight for the heartbreak that families have to cope with when their innocent child is violated or hurt.

ًFor me, what is shocking about these crimes is that when the criminal is under 18 years old he is considered a child and the Egyptian child law (according to The Convention on the Rights of the Child, CRC) can’t condemn any of them to more than 15 years in jail no matter what their crime is.

This law protects the criminal child but what about the victim child? Aren’t we aggrieving them? Don’t they and their families deserve more justice and more sympathy? How can a law protect the rights of the criminal and ignore the rights of the victim?

Have there been any similar crimes in your country? What were your feelings about how the victim’s family viewed the situation? 

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Nihad from Alexandria, Egypt. Nihad blogs at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

Photo credit: Bruce Tuten


Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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CANADA: Redefining What It Means To Be A Real Man

CANADA: Redefining What It Means To Be A Real Man

Do you want to know why I love my husband? Because he is the total opposite of EVERYTHING that I was told that an Arab man is. That, despite him being a member of the male sex, he doesn’t conform to ideas of masculinity. Because HE IS a man who keeps his word.

Now don’t get me wrong. He hates doing housework…he doesn’t cook…he believes deep down that his word is the final word; he apologizes before he knows what upsets me, and he rarely open doors for me.

BUT, he is also a man who does housework when I am ill, brings me surprises every month, laughs with me, sings with me and changes diapers. He praises me as a wife and mother and comes home everyday after work with a big smile. And his favorite past-time is sitting in our bed watching old movies.

My husband is not unique per se, but he has helped me through many storms. One of the biggest storms that I have faced is my past.

When we first married, my husband could not understand where I had been. How could he? He was East, and I was West. It was a little joke between us, but in essence it described us in every way. (more…)

Salma (Canada)

An Imperfect Stepford Wife is what Salma describes herself as because she simply cannot get it right. She loves decorating, travelling, parenting,learning, writing, reading and cooking, She also delights in all things mischievous, simply because it drives her hubby crazy. Salma has 2 daughters and a baby boy. The death of her first son in 2009 was very difficult, however, after the birth of her Rainbow baby in 2010 (one day after her birthday) she has made a commitment to laugh more and channel the innocence of youth through her children. She has blogged about her loss, her pregnancy with Rainbow, and Islamic life. After relocating to Alberta with her husband in 2011 she has found new challenges and rewards- like buying their first house, and finding a rewarding career. Her roots are tied to Jamaica, while her hubby is from Yemen. Their routes, however, have led them to Egypt and Canada, which is most interesting because their lives are filled with cultural and language barriers. Even though she earned a degree in Criminology, Salma's true passion is Social Work. She truly appreciates the beauty of the human race. She writes critical essays on topics such as feminism and the law, cultural relativity and the role of women in Islam and "the veil". Salma works full-time, however, she believes that unless the imagination of a child is nourished, it will go to waste. She follows the philosophy of un-schooling and always finds time to teach and explore with her children. From this stance, she pushes her children to be passionate about every aspect of life, and to strive to be life-long learners and teachers. You can read about her at Chasing Rainbow.

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