Ex-teacher found guilty of molesting 2 young girls at learning centre in Singapore!
It took an episode of Crime Watch for this little girl to realise that she had been harmed. What had happened?
She was 7 then, and a student at an Orchard Road enrichment centre. During lessons, her teacher would sit next to her and, from beneath the table where no one could see, slip his hand under her clothes. This happened on many occasions.
She was nervous and scared but dared not tell anyone lest her teacher scold her.
Every Sunday, from 2:30-4:00 pm, she would attend classes at an Orchard Road enrichment centre, conducted by Ian Lewis, a reading specialist teacher.
Each class had about four to six students and yet, Lewis, a British man, was able to get his way with the girl.
It took an episode of Crime Watch (which had a tutor behaving indecently with a student) for the girl to realise that she had been harmed. She confided in her mum.
According to The Straits Times, the victim's mum lodged a police report on July 12, 2015, only to realise that Lewis had already been suspended following a similar complaint from another parent.
For taking advantage of the trust placed in him and for molesting two female pupils aged seven and eight, Lewis, 66, was sentenced to 18 months and six weeks in jail. He was spared the cane on account of his age.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Chee Ee Ling said, “Bent solely on satisfying his selfish lust, the accused took the calculated risk that the victim, due to her vulnerability and naivety, will not report him. He abused his position, and breached the trust and authority bestowed on him as her teacher.”
District Judge Eddy Tham also opined, "In exploiting such a young minor of only seven years old while she had been entrusted to the accused by her parents for the purpose of education, (this) would warrant the sternest of (reprobation) from the court.”
The sad reality is that children are most at risk to be sexually abused by someone they know and trust.
How can we prevent this from happening?
We teach our children to be safe; on the road, with electrical equipments, with fire, but we often shy away from teaching them about sexual safety until they are much older. By then, sometimes, the damage is already done.
How can we teach our little ones to recognise and report sexual abuse and to keep themselves safe? Here are some pointers:
- Talk about body parts: We teach our children the eyes, nose, ears, limbs and stomach but we very conveniently omit the private parts and pretend they don't exist. It is time for change. Use proper names for each body part. It eliminates a lot of confusion. Feeling comfortable using these words and knowing what they mean can help a child talk clearly if something inappropriate has happened.
- Explain the meaning of private parts: Tell your child why only some parts are called 'private'. It is because they are not for everyone to see. Only mummy and daddy, and maybe a doctor in the presence of a parent is allowed to look at them. Not even friends or relatives they know well.
- Explain "good touch" and "bad touch": Be clear. Explain that no one should touch their private parts and that they should not touch any one’s private parts as well. Also, no one should be allowed to take pictures of private parts.
- No "private" secrets: Most paedophiles will tell the child to keep the abuse a secret. Either lovingly or using a threatening tone. Explain to your child that no matter what happens, she should confide in you. That she will never get in trouble for telling you the truth.
- Teach her to say "No": If she feels something 'bad' happening, she must learn to say "No!" and try to leave the area immediately.
- Look out for emotional and behavioural symptoms: More than the physical symptoms, emotional or behavioural signs are more common. Watch out for sudden withdrawal and depression, unexplained anger and rebellion in your child. Don't overreact and panic. Offer support.
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