Archive for the ‘Sex Education’ Category

Strengthen weak link in fight against child sex crimes.

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

THE fight against child sexual crimes in Malaysia is gaining momentum. Well, that may be something of an understatement considering that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak himself has made it clear that the Government will go all out to stop these heinous crimes.

On Monday, an outraged and resolute Najib vowed to put an end to child sexual crimes in the country, and added that the efforts would start with the tabling of the Child Sexual Offences Bill later this month.

A special court would be set up to deal with such offences, he said when opening a two-day seminar that was part of a campaign called Jenayah Seksual Kanak-Kanak: Hentikan!! (Child Sexual Crimes: Stop It!!).

He emphasised that the Government would ensure the proposed law is effective, comprehensive and holistic.

That is a key point. Many initiatives kick off with the best and most heartfelt intentions, but to keep going, they must have sound strategies, a solid legal framework and smooth execution.

To deter child sexual crimes, it is important that the cases are investigated and the predators brought to justice. For that to happen, those in authority must know about the plight of the victims. And this is often the weak link.

According to the police, there were 7,862 cases of sexual crimes against children between 2014 and last year. That is an annual average of 2,620, and these are only reported cases.

It is reasonable to assume that many more such crimes have remained dark, hideous secrets. As long as child sexual crimes continue to be “silent crimes”, halting them is an uphill battle.

Patron of the Permata programmes Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, who has been championing the cause and the Hentikan!! campaign, said at the seminar on Monday that it is the collective responsibility of society to promote awareness of these crimes.

As she pointed out, many cases go unreported because children were afraid and families want to protect their reputation and honour.

In his speech, Najib said many still failed to recognise the threat of child sexual crimes because the topic was “considered taboo or sensitive”.

“But it’s important to teach children what is appropriate and inappropriate, and that their body belongs to them alone,” he added.

Beyond that, children need to know what to do if they unfortunately fall prey to sex offenders. There is a lot for the victims to overcome, and they can do with all the help and support they can get.

Police statistics show that in almost 90% of the cases of sexual crimes against children, the victims knew the alleged perpetrators. That alone can be a huge deterrent against reporting the crimes.

The Star Says.
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It’s unanimous – sex education, although taboo, is vital.

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: “Sex education” are two words many Malaysians are almost too afraid to say out loud.

But that was not the case at the Jenayah Seksual Kanak-Kanak: Hentikan!! (Child Sexual Crimes: Stop It!!) seminar yesterday. Participants from all levels of society openly called for comprehensive sex education across the country.

They were heard.

“There’s a need to educate our children because they’re now able to get their answers from the Internet,” said Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim.

“In those days, answers were from parents and teachers, but some subjects – like your body – were taboo to talk about,” said the Women, Family and Community Development Minister.

“Now, children just go straight to Mr Google; all the more reason for my ministry and I to feel that we must teach our children as early as possible – about bad touch and good touch. I think it should be in our education system.”

During a presentation, the ministry’s Deputy Secretary-General (Operations) Dr Waitchalla R.R.V. Suppiah said it was “ridiculous” that Malaysians could not even talk to their children about their private parts using the proper terms.

“I heard that some parents use terms like bunga and batangBunga mana ini (what kind of flower is this)?” she asked to laughter from the audience. “If we, as adults, are embarrassed about talking about it, what more children?”

While there was no specific subject for sex education at the moment, Moral Studies, Biology and Islamic Studies all touched on the matter, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan.

“The ministry is, however, open to suggestions and ideas to further strengthen the syllabus and teaching methodology if the need arises,” he added.

Rohani’s support for sex education follows Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s call for parents to educate their children about “appropriate and inappropriate” touches, adding that children should be taught that their bodies belonged to them and them alone.

Rohani did, however, acknowledge the taboo that accompanied the words “sex education” hindered attempts at educating children and their families.

“Raising awareness and helping parents realise sex education are some of the hurdles we have to cross,” she said.

“It’s part of our culture to be more reserved when it comes to talking about sex,” said participant and mother-of-four Mariammah Subramaniam. “But children are our treasure and we have to protect them, even if it means you have to teach them about these things.”
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Teach sexual predators a hard lesson

Saturday, March 11th, 2017
Loke (left), Berjaya Group executive director Nerine Tan (second from left), Syed Azmi (third from right) and representatives of Protect and Save the Children Association, Voice of the Children and Malaysian Institute for Debate and Public Speaking literally blowing the whistle on sexual predators.

Loke (left), Berjaya Group executive director Nerine Tan (second from left), Syed Azmi (third from right) and representatives of Protect and Save the Children Association, Voice of the Children and Malaysian Institute for Debate and Public Speaking literally blowing the whistle on sexual predators.

Citizens Against Child Sexual Abuse (CACSA) collected 40,000 signatures within a month in support of stiffer penalties against sexual predators in Malaysia.

CACSA spokesman Mimie Loke said they had also garnered support from MPs for the Child Sexual Crime Bill.

“We launched an online petition and also received physical signatures.

“We have also produced a booklet, Protect Your Child From Sexual Abuse: Let’s Talk, which is available for free at 7-Eleven outlets.

“Parents need to be vigilant as sexual abuse is more often than not committed by people known to the child,” she said at the launch of a public awareness campaign at Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur entitled, “Prevention is the answer: How to be your child’s defender”.

“I urge parents to talk to their children from a young age about inappropriate behaviour from adults,” said Loke, adding that laws need to address the sexual grooming of children on the Internet, especially through social messaging services.

CACSA is made up of various NGOs including Voice of Children and P.S. The Children and representative Syed Azmi Alhabshi said parents should be good at listening and observing so they would know the early signs of sexual abuse.

ASP Noraini says adults need to educate children to protect themselves from sexual abuse by using easy-to-find items such as a pen or pencil.

ASP Noraini says adults need to educate children to protect themselves from sexual abuse by using easy-to-find items such as a pen or pencil

They should listen to their children’s stories, and look out for a possible hidden meaning behind them.

“They should give their children the opportunity and space to tell their stories, and be aware of any change in behaviour such as not wanting to go to school anymore.

“There is always a reason for a child’s actions, beyond that, parental supervision is important to prevent such incidents,” Syed Azmi said.

ASP Noraini Mohamad Noor from the Sexual Crimes Against Women and Children Division 11 said awareness and education goes hand in hand in combating child sex crimes.

“We have to be wary of who our children are talking to, especially with the popularity of social media.

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‘Urgent need for sex education’

Saturday, September 24th, 2016
Birds and bees: Students listening to a talk by Thanam during the Sexual Encounter Seminar at Hospital Permai in Johor Baru.

Birds and bees: Students listening to a talk by Thanam during the Sexual Encounter Seminar at Hospital Permai in Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: Most students in Malaysia are sexually active by the time they are 13, and a psychologist is counselling an average of one pregnancy case every two months.

Psychologist Engelina Daniel said incorporating sex education into the school syllabus would deter student from being involved in sexual activities and should not be delayed further.

“What many fail to see is that sexual activities among teenagers cause not only social problems but also have psychologically effects.

“More and more have been coming to seek counselling and treatment for acute stress and anxiety due to relationship problems,” she told The Star at the Sexual Encounters Seminar for students here on Thursday.

“We have to reach out to the students as early as possible, as those as young as 10 years old are being exposed to pornographic content from the Internet.

“There is no pointin turning a blind eye on the matter, thinking it will resolve itself,” she said.

She added that 15- and 16-year-old girls were more prone to face such issues, especially after suffering illnesses or being impregnated by their partners.

Activist Thanam Visvanathan Suresh, who talked about the lega­lity issue surrounding underage sex, said that many students, especially boys, were unaware that they could get in trouble with the law even for consensual sex with girls under 16.

“This is why adding sexual education in the school syllabus is vital, especially in this day and age where children are constantly exposed to sexual material on social media,” she said.

Sultanah Aminah Hospital obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Eliza Mohd Noor said most teenagers were also in the dark on health implications once they started being sexually, active especially if they had multiple partners.


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Teach young kids about sexuality

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Open discussion: Dialogues and workshops are a good way of engaging with schoolchildren on issues affecting the human anatomy, emotional relations and sexual reproduction.

Open discussion: Dialogues and workshops are a good way of engaging with schoolchildren on issues affecting the human anatomy, emotional relations and sexual reproduction.

CHILDREN are the easiest target and victims of sexual abuse. There have been so many reports of sexual atrocities committed against children.

The number of cases that have gone unreported are just as high.

I believe that parents play a big role in educating their children about sexuality.

Studies show that children with little parental supervision are more likely to engage in earlier sexual activities or abused.

In the absence of parental involvement, children might be influenced by their peers, images on the television, movies and also the Internet.

One recent study stated that there are about 9,000 sexual scenes exposed to children per year.

For this reason alone, parents should make it a point to be aware of their children’s sexual development and behaviour.

In the primary school years, children may become embarrassed about being naked in front of their parents.

They have curiosity about anatomy of the body, gender differences, menstruation, puberty and pregnancy.

If for example, a six-year-old child wants privacy in the bathroom, it might be a good chance to teach him or her about private parts and its rules.

Learning about sexuality should be put into proper perspective. Parents should be encouraged to discuss family attitudes, values and beliefs with their children at the early stage of their lives.

The discussion can be initiated with the birth of a sibling in the family.

At this stage, parents are encouraged to answer children’s questions as accurately as possible.

When I was five, I remember asking my mother why my older sister did not perform prayers.

My mother explained about the female menstrual cycle.

Of course I could not quite understand all of what she said, but I accepted my mother’s reasoning.


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When talking to children about sex and related issues, it is important

Academicians, Professionals To Conduct Study On Sex Education In Schools – Mahdzir

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 (Bernama) — The Education Ministry has identified academicians and professionals to conduct a study and prepare a syllabus for sex education in schools to raise awareness of pedophilia among students.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the study would be carried out soon after academicians and professionals held a discussion with the ministry and other stake holders.

“The study is important to see and evaluate what else is lacking in the sex education subject, including early childhood education. This study will be conducted in collaboration with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, Community Development Department (KEMAS) and the Prime Minister’s Department,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.

Earlier, Mahdzir said the government had intended to introduce the subject of sex education to preschool children to raise awareness and that the ministry would work with stakeholders like pediatricians on appropriate methods for implementation.

The country was rocked by the pedophilia issue when British citizen, Richard Huckle pleaded guilty to raping 22 poor children in Kuala Lumpur and was sentenced to life in prison recently.

Mahdzir said apart from the study the ministry would also hold dialogues, have frequent communication with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), parents and the community and organise awareness campaigns to combat pedophilia.

Commenting on an incident where students were injured by firecrackers, including homemade fireworks, Mahdzir said so far the ministry had received three cases.

“The injured are children who are still in school, but they have lost their fingers and will have to be absent from school to recuperate. This will definitely affect their studies.

“Non-governmental organisations, PTA and our society must teach them on the dangers to prevent a recurrence of such cases,” he added.

Earlier, during question and answer session, Mahdzir told the Dewan Negara that the government had allocated RM2.9 billion this year as school aid for 5.1 million students in the country.


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Demystifying a taboo subject

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

There’s more to sexual and reproductive education than just contraception, anatomy and disease prevention.

Teenage girls giggle, while others wonder why they’re looking at a painting of a naked girl with her arms crossed on her legs, tightly-pressed together.

Having caught her young audience’s attention, sexual health educator June Low is curious to know what the girls think of the painting Puberty by famed Norwegian artist Edward Munch.

“What do you see?” she asks. Their responses lead to more questions. Very soon, the topic turns to puberty and the emotions and physical changes that come with this awkward teenage phase.

The discussion was at the weekly sex education classes organised by Low at Pusat Rakyat Loyar Buruk in Kuala Lumpur.

Low likes to keep her classes fun and interactive, and encourages students to ask questions that spark their curiosity on related topics.

They can even ask anonymously with the help of a box where they write down their questions. Low responds to them by addressing the class.

Real issues

She also incorporates current affairs in her classes as it is “very important for kids to be more aware of what’s going on in the world around them”.

In fact, she makes it a point to make sure her sex education classes involve more than just “the talk.”

The former lawyer and founder of Popek Popek Enterprise, says studies done in the United Kingdom have shown that sex education can play a very important part in maintaining the emotional health of students, which in turn will help them produce better results at school.


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Need for comprehensive sexuality education

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

AN NGO providing family planning services has offered its assistance to Malaysia to carry out sexuality education sessions in schools.

International Planned Parent­hood Federation (IPPF) East and South-East Asia and Oceania regional director Nora Murat says that if the Government cannot do it for one reason or another, many NGOs are able to assist the Govern­ment.

“We need to be given the space to do the work,” she says.

Nora says that, currently, NGOs do not have access to conduct comprehensive sex education in schools or tertiary institutions and that sex education is not taught in its entirety in classes across the nation.

What is viewed as sex education is actually a combination of two or three topics related to the physical development of children and ­adolescent, development of the reproductive and fertility system and also sex within the Islamic context, she says, quoting a 2011 Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) study.

She says sex education is much broader with topics relating to the physical development of the child, the reproductive system, sexual intercourse and subsequent childbirth, pregnancy control, the aspect of dealing with or judging of sexual advances from men to women, the spread of sexually transmitted ­disease and also illicit sex.

The study also mentions that “90% of the respondents agree that sex education has not been taught in Malaysians schools and the informal information given by most of the teachers is vague”.

Nora says that sex cannot be a taboo subject because children need to be protected.

She points out that cases of unwanted pregnancies and baby dumping continue to occur in Malaysia while sexually transmitted diseases continue to rise. Indeed,The Star recently reported that around 100 babies were dumped each year, according to the Women, Family and Commu­nity Development Ministry.

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Call for sex education to start from preschool level

Monday, February 1st, 2016

SEX educationSEX education must be introduced early to youth to reduce the risks of liberal sexual relations from taking place.

National Council of Professors Social Development Cluster committee member, Prof Dr Mohamed Fadzil Che Din said problems would crop up when they lacked knowledge of their own personal sexual development.

As such, he said sex education must be taught to all age levels before adulthood.

“Sexual development in the growing years is different at every stage and we must be able to deal with it,” added Prof Mohamed Fadzil.

He suggested that a suitable term is coined for sex education because the word “sex” had a negative and sensitive connotation.

Universiti Putra Malaysia social expert Prof Mohammad Shatar Sabran said a study he conducted found that 85% of respondents who indulged in sex were prompted by the fun factor.

He said it was an indication that they were not clear about the negative implications of their actions.

Prof Mohammad Shatar said it was best that sex education is introduced from kindergarten level. It was already being implemented in many developed countries and there was a need for Malaysia to follow suit.

“The subject content must be clear and comprehensive in line with the level of understanding of every target group,” he said.

Introducing the subject to younger children would help address problems in society including teenage pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual exploitation and cyberbullying.

The National Union of the Teaching Profession president Hashim Adnan said sex education must be given emphasis in health-related subjects and religious lessons.

It should also be made a compulsory subject in examinations, he added.

He explained that sex education could be connected to the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS from the health angle while in religion it could be associated with illegitimate babies.


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Start sex education in schools without delay, Govt urged

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

PETALING JAYA: The Government must not delay in implementing sex education in schools and provide free contraceptives if it is serious about addressing unwanted pregnancies and curbing baby dumping, said Women’s Aid Organisation executive director Sumitra Visvanathan.

She said unwanted pregnancies could be traced to the lack of sex education, lack of knowledge on contraception and stigmatisation of single women obtaining contraception.

“There are too many barriers to the discussion on sex and relationships, and girls are getting pregnant without being aware of what has happened to their bodies,” she said.

Sunday Star had reported Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim as saying that 104 babies were dumped last year, of which 61 were found dead.

Sumitra said the content of sex education was not consistent in schools and had failed to address the issue.

“A comprehensive sex education syllabus must be implemented in all schools so that girls are empowered and boys are taught to respect the female body.

“It would teach girls to be in control of their bodies and not tolerate violence and sexual abuse if it happens to them,” she said.

Sumitra said the Government should also move towards providing free access to contraception to women who reached the age of consent, similar to that used in the harm reduction approach in tackling drug addiction.

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