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Media statement by Chong Eng in Bukit Mertajam on Thursday, 5th August 2010:

Protect our young children, teach rape prevention lessons now!

Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that his ministry in looking into making sex education a subject in school.

While I take his words in good faith, I think the Education Ministry has taken far too long to study the issue without any concrete resolutions. The current state of escalating sexual crimes including child rape cases warrant immediate attention. I believe that rape prevention lessons must be taught to school children including those in the kindergarten. And the seriousness of the issue demands the urgency of now, the Education Ministry cannot afford to idle in the so-called "study mode" but must act now.

Young children become easy targets of rapists because they were not taught about their body, sexuality and how to react to inappropriate advances and rape. Police statistics in 2009 revealed that every day, 10 women were raped, and half of the victims were children below 16 years of old.

The victims of the recent case involving taxi drivers and bus drivers shocked the nations when they revealed that they were raped repeatedly over a period of time. This happened partly because young children are ignorant of the crime and often they were threatened to keep silent.

While the Education Ministry and the Federal Government are still in "study mode", several NGOs have taken the initiative to start educational programs. One such NGO is Women's Centre for Change (WCC), Penang. Its "OK-Tak-Ok" program teaches children between 10-12 years old to differentiate between good and bad touch and what to do if they encounter bad touches.

I suggest that the Education Ministry work with these NGOs, especially by allocating funds to train teachers to conduct similar sessions in all schools and kindergartens. This itself will be a positive progress from the Government's current idle "study mode".

Our children are being raped and risked being raped by sexual criminal everyday; we cannot wait any longer for the Ministry to finish its study.

* Chong Eng, DAP Deputy Secretary General, DAP Wanita Chairperson & MP for Bukit Mertajam



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