Four teenagers, three of whom are 13-year-old and one is 14, were arrested for the alleged rape of a school girl near Cloffocks car park in Workington. According to a report, the inquest was launched overnight and the cops narrowed down on the four suspects, after enquiries in the locality.
As this report says, temporary Detective Superintendent Doug Marshall stated, “The investigation is at an early stage… We have specialist officers supporting the victim at this time and we are urging anyone who was in the area around the time of the incident who may have seen anything suspicious to come forward.”
The investigation was carried out overnight before the cops narrowed down on the four teenage suspects. While the crime carried out is undoubtedly heinous, what makes us wince is the age of the perpetrators. Although, an offence of any nature is unjustified based on age-related parameters, it’s disheartening to see a rise in sexual crime towards women, committed by youngsters.
Where lies the problem? How do we sensitise our children enough that they grow up as responsible individuals? How do we let them know the gravitas of such crimes and how it affects the one at the receiving end?
Sex is a tricky topic to be raised in front of a child, especially pre-teens and teens who are usually at the mercy of their hormones. But are hormones alone to be blamed for the rising number of sexual violence? Is it possible to groom responsible children or do we play the ostrich jus because it is tricky and avoid the delicate topic?
Well, life would be perfect if ignoring a problem would nullify it. However, since that’s not the case, why not address the issue with maturity and educate the young ones about sex? Since today’s children are tomorrow’s adults, here are some ways in which you can quip yourself to tackle the topic:
Start early, start slow. Handle sex education with the calmness you’d have while teaching him manners. Neither would you panic, nor would it be a one-day-session. Start with explaining gender neutrality without throwing jargons at him. He need not know what feminism or sexual violence mean. As long as he is made to understand that violence of any form — irrespective of gender—is wrong, we are on a good start.
Keep it age-appropriate. In certain cultures, women don’t pray or visit religious institutions while menstruating. At seven, the child may be too young to understand menstruation, but by the time he is 12 or 13, he will be able to connect the dots. Introduce topics which are relevant and appropriate as per age.
Maintain a friendly relationship. This is vital if you expect your child to come up to you with confidence and share his concerns. Puberty is a sensitive phase for girls and boys alike. They are raging with unanswered queries. Something as natural as facial hair could leave him baffled. Ensure that they feel free to come to you instead of relying on seniors in school.
Walk the talk. First, don’t preach. Second, if you preach, please practice it. Watch movies and television shows that portray a healthy man-woman relationship. You don’t want to be caught fumbling with the remote as your child walks in while you are watching something that was termed ’objectionable’ by you.
Read up! Knowing about the topic and actually explaining it, especially to children, is a different ball game. Read up on books and resources like this, if you feel you can’t nail the topic on your own. It’s better to be ready with all possible answers to your young one’s questions and responses. Just in case, he leaves you stumped with a question, just assure him that you aren’t too sure about it and will get back to him. Then make sure you do get back.
Basically, don’t demonize sex and talk more often with your growing children. Be friendly with his friends, and friendlier with him.