Teacher started sexual relationship with student when she was just 13

In this rare case where the predator was a teacher, he reportedly was involved in a sexual relationship with his young student that spanned years...

Teachers are our children’s mentors, advisors and guardians.

We entrust them with our kids while we are not there to watch them learn, play and grow. This sanctity of trust is, almost always, upheld to the maximum by our children’s teachers. It’s safe to say that they deserve our trust.

But recently, news reports highlighted one rare case in Singapore where a teacher breached this trust.

A case of child grooming?

According to The New Paper, this 30-year-old teacher started courting one of his students when she was just 13, and was reportedly with the underage student for the next five years, having sex with her in rented cars, hotel rooms and even in her own home.

The sexual acts were allegedly filmed by the teacher without the girl’s knowledge or consent.

The sexual predator even rented a room from the student’s mum, claiming that he needed a place to stay due to ongoing divorce proceedings. While he was in the house, reports say that he filmed the mum and daughter showering.

The student reportedly caught onto the acts when she was doing a cursory check to ensure that her teacher did not take any of her things when he moved out after approximately nine years.

She filed a police report then.

On Wednesday 9 December, the teacher pleaded guilty to having sex with an underage girl, as well as to secretly filming the girl and her mother in the shower. Identities of all parties are under a gag order to protect the victim’s identities

The two became close when the teacher was the girl’s history and English teacher back in 2003, when he offered a group of students free tuition in history.

The teacher came to know the girl’s mum while tutoring the student in maths and science at her home in the following year.

In Singapore, it is an offense for a man to have sex with a girl under the age of 16.

 

Children are vulnerable and not in a position of power

At just 13, the girl in question was still a child when the teacher started courting her. She was also in a relationship where the adult — her teacher — was in a clear position of power and authority.

As parents, we can’t protect our children at all times, especially as they grow older. But what we can do is educate ourselves and our children about sexual abuse and how to prevent it.

Did you know:

  • Most sexual predators know their victims
  • Children who are victims of sexual abuse may display certain behavioural symptoms, such as the withdrawal from friends or family. Other signs include a sudden decrease in school performance, or experience depression, anxiety, or exhibit aggressive and self-destructive behaviour. Do note that some victims may appear perfectly normal.
  • Child sexual abuse can go on for months or years and is not limited a single isolated incident.

With education and awareness, our children can be taught how protect themselves from sexual abuse, and parents can learn about what signs to look out for, too.

Do note these tips that can minimise your child’s risk of molestation:

  • In early childhood, parents can teach their children the real names of genitals, just as they teach their child names of other body parts. This teaches kids that their genitals, while private, are not so private that you can’t talk about them to a trusted adult.
  • Teach your children about the privacy of body parts, and the value of personal privacy. Absolutely no one should touch them without their consent.
  • Teach your children that there is no need for any secrets between them and yourself, and that they should feel comfortable talking with you about anything. You can do this by establishing strong communication channels with your child from a young age.
  • Teach your child to not accept random gifts and take note when others want to take your child out alone.
  • Enrol your child in activities that have a “open door” policy allowing you to monitor and participate in activities if needed.
  • Create an environment at home in which sexual topics can be discussed comfortably. Highlight the importance to your kids, of telling a parent or another trusted adult if anyone takes advantage of them.
  • Listen to your child if he or she discloses any history of sexual abuse and do not disregard it immediately. Contact your pediatrician, the local child protection service agency, or the police if you have any problems and do not take any risk. If you don’t intervene, the abuse might continue, and the child may come to believe that home is not safe and that you are not available to help.
  • Support your child and let him or her know that he or she is not at fault.
  • Should any abuse occur, let a physician examine your child to ensure that your child’s physical health is not affected by the ordeal.
  • Besides the physical aspect, ensure that all involved go through psychological consultations. Your paediatrician can refer you to community resources for psychological help.
  • Consult your paediatrician should you have any questions.

Parents, share your wisdom with us: how have you taught your child about sexual abuse prevention? Do share your tips in a comment below.