Molestation scandals prompt kids protection

Updated: 2013-05-30 21:29


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BEIJING - Chinese parents are trying to find ways to protect their children from child molesters, and are also urging harsher penalties for such criminals, following the recent exposure of nine child molestation cases.

"I often teach my child preventive measures, tell her not to wear skimpy clothes and tell her to be more aware of self-protection. But the reality indicates that these moves are far from enough," said a mother surnamed Liu in Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province.

Liu's 11-year-old daughter is now in her fifth year of primary school. The mother said she plans to ask her daughter to learn self-protection skills during the coming summer vacation.

Over the last 20 days, nine sexual molestation cases have been reported in the media. The majority of the suspects are teachers or school principals. Among them, a primary school teacher in central China's Henan Province and a teacher in south China's Guangdong Province, respectively, have been detained for sexually abusing female students.

In another case, an unemployed man and a 12-year-old dropout were detained last week in north China's Hebei Province for molesting or raping six girls in a school dormitory.

Several mothers who requested anonymity said they have purchased pants for their children to wear under their skirts, as well as thick vests.

"The weather is hot, but children should wear protective clothes to reduce the risk (of being sexually abused) as much as they can," said Liu.

"Girls should be careful in dealing with all males except their father," said a man surnamed He whose 12-year-old daughter attends a primary school in Nanchang.

Some parents have said that they will consider buying defensive sprays or alarm devices for their children to prevent sexual abuse.

In Guangdong, some 2,500 girls, half of them under the age of 14, have been sexually victimized over the last three years, according to a media report that cited women's federation officials in the provincial capital of Guangzhou.

A municipal women's federation official said 10,000 instructional pamphlets that detail how to avoid sexual abuse will be distributed to students and parents in June.

Among the recently publicized molestation cases, one involved a school principal and a local government employee who allegedly spent a night with six primary school girls on May 8 in south China's Hainan Province. The men have been detained and are facing rape charges.

In rural areas of China, children receive little education about sex, as the topic is still relatively taboo to most people.

If molestation does occur, victims and their parents often choose to keep silent in order to save face and avoid potential backlash from the offenders. However, the physical and psychological trauma can linger for a long time.

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