A student care centre guardian in Singapore has been convicted of sexually abusing young boys. What makes boys vulnerable to sexual abuse?
They called him "Uncle"; he would help the boys with their homework. He even took them to church, and bought them ice pops and sweets.
In return, this "kind and patient" uncle molested them.
Sexual abuse over 2 years
According to Channel NewsAsia, the crimes committed by this "guardian" at a primary school student care centre in Singapore came out in the open, when he was caught slipping his hand under the table to touch a 10-year-old boy’s penis.
He was immediately suspended.
On knowing that investigations against him were underway, he privately messaged 3 of the victims, and requested them to not reveal anything about the abuse.
It later came to light that as many as 8 victims aged 7 to 12, had fallen prey to this 66-year-old man's abuse, ranging from molest to oral sex.
Student care centre guardian in Singapore convicted
According to The Straits Times, on Feb 22, this student care centre employee was convicted of sexually abusing young boys in his care for over 2 years. He has been sentenced to 10 years of jail. He has however, been spared the cane, owing to his age.
District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim has been quoted by Today as saying, “Instead of guarding and protecting them, he took advantage of the victims and became their predator. The fact that the victims addressed him as Uncle was a mark of their affection and respect for him.”
"The accused (has) clearly abused the trust reposed in him ... And he tried to suborn victims ... by contacting and asking them not to disclose to those who were investigating him what he had done to them. There is absolutely no remorse here.”
Why young boys are vulnerable to sexual abuse
It is a fact that most of the child sexual abuse cases that we come across, involves girls. It has thus become commonplace to regard child sexual abuse as a 'feminist' issue.
Perhaps, such cases among boys tend to get swept under the carpet because boys are generally more unwilling to report the unpleasant truth? Or maybe they just can't identify abuse correctly?
Here are some possible reasons why boys might hesitate to report sexual abuse:
- Sense of shame: Many male victims are unable to talk about their abuse because of the sense of shame. They feel that by doing so, they would be regarded as weak, effeminate and gay, especially if male abusers were involved. They might also be accused of being stupid, to allow it to happen. Fear of shaming by peers is also an issue.
Society is also partly to blame for this; boys are generally made to believe that they are strong and macho, and can't afford to cry. Hence they are constantly under pressure to present a strong image.
- Naturally curious: Another reason that makes boys highly vulnerable to sexual abuse is that they are naturally more "sexually curious" then girls. If pushed into it, they might even enjoy the excitement and pleasurable sensation of genital fondling and the receipt of oral sex. The abuser might use this as an excuse to blame the victim for the abuse, whereas the truth is, the victim was simply too young and ill-informed.
The abuser might coerce victims into the act by saying things like, "This is what real guys do...Its fun...everyone does it, " and then they don't want to feel left out.
- Abuser incentives : Paedophiles routinely use incentives as their main weapon of lure. In this case, even after realising that they were victims, the boys had nice things to say about their abuser. According to Channel News Asia, the victims referred to their guardian as a “caring teacher” who was “friendly, kind and very patient” when helping the boys with their homework.
- Scared of abusers: There is a constant fear that no one would believe them if they came out with the truth. What if the abusers beat them up?
- Sexuality education still a taboo: Most parents feel uncomfortable to talk about sexuality and protection topics with their sons.
All these factors usually prevent boys from opening up and not reporting the crime. Abuse victims are often known to suffer from low self-esteem, anger management issues, poor concentration, relationship problems and drug and alcohol abuse later on in life. Hence the need of the hour is to create greater awareness of this issue.
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