Thursday, March 01, 2007

Pre-school boy sexually assaults 3-year old girl

I was waiting in a policeman acquaintance’s office when a woman walked in with a 3-year girl.

I’m not quite sure why she came into that particular office, but she fell into conversation with me and two other policewomen.

She had just laid charges of intimidation and assault against the person who owns the property where her child’s pre-school is situated. I know the relationships sound complicated, but bear with me.

A couple of weeks ago, she says, her 3-year daughter came home complaining that her vagina was sore. She said a boy from her pre-school (naming him) inserted his finger into her vagina while they were playing. The boy is not much older than she is.

Concerned, the woman reported the matter to the pre-school.
“I thought that maybe the boy’s parents watched pornography in his presence and thought that he was too young to understand what he was seeing. Only he went out there and tried it out on my daughter.”

The mother says she was not looking to take punitive measures at that stage. She adds that her brother once watched a porn movie in her daughter’s presence, and she didn’t know it until she was informed that her duaghter was giving open-mouthed kisses to other kids.

“I just wanted the parents to say they were sorry that this had happened and that they would measures to make sure their son does not cross boundaries like this again,” she says.

Two days ago, the boy’s mother approached the girl’s mother and suggested that they chat. As it is the woman’s property, they went to her home, which is in the same premises, to have the conversation.

According to the girl’s mother, the boy’s mother said: “I hear you want me to say I’m sorry for what my son did to your daughter. I refuse to apologize.”

The argument escalated from then onwards, and as a result, the boy’s mother laid assault and intimidation that same day.

Yesterday the girl’s mother laid counter-charges. She says she took her daughter to see a doctor the same day the incident happened, so she had medical evidence. She has also lodged a complaint against the school with the department of education [for not taking action and mediating the discussion] and the boy’s mother, for refusing to acknowledge the alleged wrong-doing of her child.

The police station was her next stop, before she approached the media, she said. If she does, it will get even uglier.

Not wanting to be drawn into the situation[ for a number of reasons] I didn't mention to the lady that I am a journalist. I later remnded my acquitance that I write about business and technology, not human interest stories such as this one.

What would you do if yur child was accuased of sexually assaulting another child?

As a parent, I couldn’t help but wonder why the boy’s mother didn’t just apologize and get it over with. If you heard that your child touched another in such a way, wouldn’t you run to the mother of the assaulted child and ask for forgiveness on behalf of your child? Wouldn’t you want to deal with it as speedily and efficiently as possible, without the authorities? Once they come into the picture, thing gets complicated.

Firstly, the education system has an obligations to protect all the children in the in their care, and can’t afford to be lenient when allegations like that are made. What if other children have also been touched inappropriately?

What if the delinquent child does it again? Secondly, God forbid, but what if someone leaks the fact that such complaints were made against your child and the department failed to take action? Your child would not be named in he media, but a pre-school is such a small place. Rumours will circulate and the fact that your child is the alleged perpetrator will become an open secret.

Also, once charges are laid with the police, the situation takes a life of its own. The law has to run its course, and maybe "I'm sorry" won't be good enough anymore.

So, what are you letting your child watch thinking that he’s too young to understand?

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