I went to a conference about two years ago, about abuse prevention. There was one particular thing, that rang into my mind, up until this day. I’ve shared this with a few people, but I believe now I am ready to make this public.
Firstly, trigger warning: sexual abuse.
And particularly we’re going to talk about today, is child-on-child sexual abuse.
Yikes, I know. What a very uncomfortable topic to touch upon. But please bear with me.
Because at the very end of this post, I am going to give a glimpse of hope to everyone. Yeah, I know that sounds weird to talk about amidst this issue, but trust me & stay with me until the end.
Firstly, the word child-on-child abuse itself fascinates me. I’ve always thought only adults abuse children. But if we look it different angle, it’s completely logical to deduce that children can also abuse other children.
For example, if a parent physically abuses a child, he would do it repeatedly, systematically, plant fear & obedience in the child, & as a result, traumatizes the children. Correct?
(If it’s a stranger & it’s a one-time thing, categorically it’s not an abuse, it’s an assault)
Well, why is that so different with bullying, for example? It’s also an abuse. The bully does it repeatedly, systematically, plant fear & obedience in the one being bullied, & as a result, traumatizes him/her. Correct?
I believe, just by this change of term (from ‘just’ bullying to abuse), it can dramatically changes how we view bullying. It’s not just ‘kids being kids’, ‘boys being boys’, ‘they’ll solve it on their own’, and others.
No, it’s abuse, and we gotta stop that.
With child-on-child abuse being clarified, let’s move on to the second part.
Sexual activities in children sadly has been increasing in number. And although we are baffled, we may have a sense of understanding the causes; media, peer pressure, curiosity, having the lust itself, etc.
But, on this particular conference, there was a very insightful yet worrying discovery;
Children are already capable of using sex as a weapon.
There were 2 newspaper articles that was being shown.
- The first article is about how a student is forced to do oral sex to 4 of his friends as a punishment of… well, I couldn’t remember the reason, but definitely childish thing. Like, not giving their toys of something.
- The second article, is about a teacher lodging a police report because his student threaten to rape her. Again, the cause is childish. I think she took his toy that he brought into school.
Do you wanna take a guess how old these children are?
Not even 10 years old yet.
But, as such tender age, they can actually understand, just like how consensual sex can be a very pleasurable thing, unconsensual sex (like rape for example), can be very unpleasant, traumatizing, degrading, and of course, punitive.
And they actually use this knowledge & insight for their own benefits.
Do you not realize that this type of thinking only exists years ago in war in the soldiers’ heads?
During wars, soldiers would rape women not just for pleasure, but because they know how severe the physical, emotional & psychological consequences. Some even rape men too, as a way to degrade them & kill their self-worth.
How does those hideous yet complicated thoughts can be thought by these children whom age has not been double-digits yet? Obviously no sane parent would ever teach this stuff.
But children? Being able to learn not just by watching, but also to derive that conclusion themselves? And then apply it to obtain personal gains?
I know, reading this is very scary.
But you know what? I find some hopeful insights too from this information.
No, not the information, but the solution to unsolicited sexual activities by children.
I know, it’s very weird to find hope in this very negative information. But, hear me out.
Like I asked, how does those hideous yet complicated thoughts can be thought by these children whom age has not been double-digits yet? Is it because of our evolving brains, or do children always have this potential inside them?
I don’t know. But I know one thing; if they can understand that unconsensual sex is traumatizing, then it shows that children are already able to understand the complicated aspects of sex.
Things that we thought we cannot teach them,
this finding shows that we can.
Really, think about it, what is sex actually? A penis going into a vagina; that’s it. That’s the simplest information. The youngest toddler who understands already the concept of something going into something else, can understand sex.
But what makes sex complicated is the cultural aspect, religious aspect, intimacy aspect, the personal aspect, the belief aspect, the physiological aspect. I could go on & on. And these aspects, even us adults cannot fully understand.
This is what makes sex taboo, especially to the minors. This is why we’re shutting them off whenever they ask about sex, even the most basic question that all living being deserve to know;
“Where do I come from?”
And for a while, it’s all for noble causes. We know that they cannot understand it yet. Even we don’t fully understand it yet.
So we hold if off, trying to distract it when they ask about it, until we figure out it’s the right time. And even sometimes we don’t do that. If we figured out that they figured it out themselves, we just let them be. As for sex education in school, they are only being thought in teens, and they only teach about the biology, and how to not be pregnant while having sex. Even for Islamic countries like Malaysia, because we have based our education system on the Western.
But, to me at least,
this finding changes everything.
We can now teach our children, from very young age, about the spiritual, philosophical, religious & emotional aspect of sex.
Like why sex should be open to talk, yet to be kept private. Why sex is both fun & important. Why Islam allow sex only in marriage. Why sex keeps a couple together. Why we need sex, as a matter of fact.
Because Allah does not forbid sex. Allah just forbids zina. Allah forbids sex without regulations & boundaries.
Because sex itself is crucial, important. In fact, I believe in Islam sex is sacred, thus the regulations & boundaries. Not a cheap & quick booze like the Westerners advertise. And I already make a blog post about this too.
In Quran, there are places talking about how Allah promises beautiful women to men. There is the story of Virgin Maryam, being pregnant without a husband. There’s embryology being explicitly told by Allah, step by step. There’s the story of Prophet Luth advising his people about homosexuality.
All of these are sex-related questions. If we aim our children to read the Quran often & understand it, sooner of later, there would be questions like;
“What actually the people of Prophet Luth do?”
“I don’t understand how babies are born, even when I read the translation. Can you explain it to me?”
“Why Allah promises beautiful women to men? What’s so cool about beautiful women to men?”
“If Maryam having a baby without a husband is a miracle, then how normally people have babies?”
and of course, the famous question:
“Where do I come from?”
I believe the God of the adults is just the same as the God of the children. So I believe that His Book is to be understood as comprehensively as possible, by both adults & children. So, if we believe our children must read & understand Quran, we need to answer this question. Truthfully.
Remember, children are not born evil. But indeed, they are born with a great capacity to learn.
Those poor kids in the newspaper, are not evil. They were initially just seeking answer to the questions about a concept that they do not understand. Unfortunately, through inappropriate means, they learn about sex in a very twisted, self-indulging matter.
So it is the parents responsibility to address this from the very first question that they have. It is your responsibility to answer it in the most comprehensive and truthful way. It is your responsibility to ensure that your children learn about sex appropriately; it being a sacred and noble aspect in a relationship, it being a responsibility instead of pure please, it being as private as it is being important.
And don’t view this as a burden, but as a blessing instead. Now we know, though they may not understand fully, just like us adults who yet to have fully understand it, they do have that potential & capacity. We don’t have to worry about putting the explanation of indefinitely, which risks them to find out through inappropriate means. We can just talk and discuss to them directly; it is bonding, it builds trust, your explanation is customized for them, and most importantly, their deserving questions would be answered.
So there you go. Despite the gruesome beginning, it is important to understand and elaborate that first. Only then, we can see the light behind it. And I hope the insight elevates your worries, just how I’ve intended. The bottom line is, it is important to answer your children’s questions.
Because while it is troublesome to figure out the right words in explaining,
while it is energy draining to hear their unfiltered, insensitive questions,
while it is never easy to be patience in regards to this matter,
it is definitely, definitely, definitely better then just dismissing the questions, pretending that they don’t even exist, making them turn to other unreliable sources to get answers,
only to find out your children made it in the newspaper… for reasons I don’t have to explain again.
Nauzubillahi min zalik.