Unwanted touching – An experience by our 6-year-old

Just as reports on sexual harassment are been flooding the media worldwide, we encountered a butt-groping case ourselves. The victim is my 6-year-old daughter. A boy in her Kindergarten 2 class grabbed her butt.😒

At this age, the boy might not be aware of the seriousness of the matter and that it was wrong to do so. Thus the title of this post is Unwanted Touching, rather than Sexual Harassment.

It was not the first time the boy disturbed her. But on the previous occasions, the boy only held her hand while talking to her and knocked on her door repeatedly when she showered. It could have been the boy liked her and was showing some gestures of fondness. The boy might not have sufficient set of social skills to demonstrate his fondness other than knocking at her door when she showered. I do have a friend who chopped off a girl’s ponytail because he liked her. He was 9 then. So okay, we let those minor occasions go.

However, groping her butt this time infuriated her enough to report the incident immediately to her teachers. We taught her before, that if she ever receives any treatment that she is uncomfortable with, she needs to escalate to either the teachers or us immediately.

To ascertain that she was not crying foul, my daughter’s teachers asked her to demonstrate how he grabbed her in the butt.

The school immediately counselled the boy and called the parents down for a discussion. The boy explained that he just wanted a chat with her. I am grateful to the school for taking my daughter’s complaints seriously, verify her claims with the boy and communicating with his parents on the same day. I felt that it is important for the boy to understand his wrongdoings immediately.

butt grope

I first received a brochure on teaching our children to protect themselves from “bad touch” 2 years ago. It was distributed by one of the government agencies via our childcare centre. I was a little taken aback then because I wasn’t prepared. Growing up in Singapore, a tiny country with low crime rates, I never thought I need to learn about protecting our children from sexual abuse at all. I was glad I received the brochure. The information in it opened my mind to sexual abuse inflicted on children. The agency wrote the brochure for children, and it taught them to identify bad touch and also not to allow others to take inappropriate pictures of their body parts.

Throughout this experience, our girl expressed uneasiness and guilt in reporting the matter to the school. She felt that she had gotten her friend into trouble. She worried that her teachers would reprimand her if we ever report the incident to the police. We are not going to, but we told our girl that we can do so, especially if the boy repeats the same mistake or does something worse than this.

Seeing her uneasiness, we had to reassure her that she had done the right thing. Certain behaviours cannot be tolerated, absolutely not butt grabbing. She has the right to report the incident to the authorities, and in her case, her parents and teachers. She also has no responsibility to cover up her friend’s mistake. Further, if she didn’t report to the teachers, the boy might misconstrue her silence as consent. She had also done her friend a favour by pointing out his mistake which he wasn’t aware of it.

I believe it is necessary to educate our children at a young age what inappropriate touching is. Our kindergarten separates the girls and the boys when taking afternoon nap once they move up to Kindergarten 1 or around 5 years old. I think this is the right age to introduce to them concepts of inappropriate behaviour.

We told our son, who is now sitting between 2 girls in his classroom, to be conscious of his actions. He should avoid touching his female classmates unnecessarily, not even their hair for no reason. He should also to exert self-control and discretion if he ever needs to scratch his private parts while having his lessons. Not in front of the girls, please!

A few points to educate our young children

These are a couple of topics shared by Psychology Today which I think we should start educating our young children.

  • Identifying their private parts, not just their own but the opposite gender’s.

  • Explain the sensitivity and rules in touching other’s private parts and showing their private parts. Tell them the exceptions.

  • Teach them how to say no when someone attempts to touch or see their private parts or showcase their private parts.

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Parenting is a very long journey with full of surprises. I experience unwanting touching today, what will I experience tomorrow?

Do you have/heard of any similar incident like ours? Share with us in the comment box below.

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