A repugnant euphemism for rape is no way to safeguard our children

Sex with a child is rape. Whether constitutional or consensual, it is rape.  The media may airbrush it by use of euphemisms such as  ‘affair’ and blur the edges with talk of  ‘seduction’ but it is still rape.  When an affair is being conducted there will no doubt be secret trysts, maybe red roses will be sent and love texts, cute teddy bears or sexy lingerie given as gifts,  who knows?  But where an adult  behaves in this manner with  a child it is not sexy and exciting,  it is predatory and it is called grooming.

Sure some of you may want to argue the boundaries. You may want to discuss variables which make the term ‘rape’ seem alarmist. How about when the  age of consent is 16 and the girl is only a few months short of that and her boyfriend is just 17? Is that still rape?   Now what if they have already planned their wedding? What if they have their parents’ consent?  Sure we can discuss all of these  variables within our communities and our society at large but right here and now we have a case which seems clear-cut as far as reporting goes.

The accused is a 38 yr old teacher  and the victim  was a 14-year-old girl at the time. Compare it to a case in the United States where the accused recently (December 14th) denied all charges.

Sioux Falls man pleads not guilty to rape, alcohol charges in Huron

Full story

HURON — A Huron bar owner accused of raping of a 12-year-old and two 14-year-old girls who was later also charged with serving alcohol to minors while out on bond has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The press there has no trouble in reporting alleged rape as alleged rape.

It is bad enough when a school teacher  is involved but similar to cases overseas that have tarnished  the reputation of the Catholic church  or Penn State University amongst others, an institution where adults are in a position of trust and authority over  children has failed to act.  What is happening in our schools and what exactly do they think their responsibilities are when a report of inappropriate behavior towards a child on a school trip is dealt with by a warning letter for the teacher concerned?  It is difficult to believe, yet alone comprehend why the  school authorities took no further action and kept quiet all this time.  Again,  why did it take the mother’s discovery for the teacher to get fired? Why was a more thorough investigation not conducted in 2008?  Was protecting the reputation of the MOE more important than the safety of a child?

There are echoes here of the insouciant  attitude of the  MOE towards the  student  Jonathan Wong, already caned for being  a Peeping Tom with an interest in young girls, who was still selected to receive a  teaching scholarship. Thanks to vigilance by educational authorities  in the UK his predilections were  discovered and he was sentenced for  downloading child pornography.

The point is that we need to have a proper screening system  in place.     Too often the attitude in Singapore is, “why worry? Nothing can go wrong ” . Until it does, that is and then we lock down the stable door after the horse has bolted. Or in the case of the poor girl who lost her legs on the MRT platform,  literally shut the gates.  The fact is paedophiles are naturally attracted towards working with children.  There will always be  (hopefully rare)  instances  and we shouldn’t take it as indicative of the teaching profession at large .  But we do need to protect against it.  The Press needs to stop sanitising what is a crime by any definition and the schools concerned ( not  forgetting our private tuition industry ) need to take their duty of care to our children much more seriously. Whilst I have no doubt that the legal system will have no trouble dealing out an appropriate sentence the MOE still needs to get its act together. Maybe time to look at  bringing in a CRB system such as that used in the UK.

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