by Lee Yen Mun
PETALING JAYA: To say that cases of sexual abuse of boys are under reported is an understatement as one in three sexually abused children is believed to be male.
This finding was based on indirect disclosures filed by victims to the Protect And Save The Children Association of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, a registered non-profit organisation advocating children's rights.
One in 10 of these victims may turn into a young sex offender if they are not given counselling and therapy sessions, said association director Madeleine Yong.
“Much of our society are still unable to accept disclosures from boys who were sodomised or sexually abused.
“Even with female victims, the first reaction is usually blatantly blaming the children what more with the boys, who are more commonly expected to defend themselves?” Yong told the The Star yesterday.
On Monday, Health Ministry Disease Control Division deputy director Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said sexual abuse of boys might be under reported due to shame and stigma attached to such cases.
In his keynote address at the International Congress of Legal Medicine 2011: Child Abuse and Neglect in Putrajaya, Dr Zainal said a maltreated child might have negative effects on the development of the individual's brain and nervous systems.
This may expose an individual to a higher risk in abusive and sexual behaviours, among others, in adulthood.
Social psychologist Datuk Dr Chiam Heng Keng concurred, saying that paedophiles prey upon victims of both sexes.
Dr Chiam is the Malaysian representative (children) to the Asean Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children.
“If left untreated, there is a high chance the victim will turn into a sex offender himself.
“The victims would feel they need an outlet to appease their guilt and anger by doing the same to another person, as the abuser has stimulated a perverted desire in them,” Dr Chiam said, adding that Malaysia lacked an awareness of abused children's right to express in defence of themselves.