About one/third of Saudi parents do not ask their small children whether they face any sexual harassment, according to a survey conducted by the Interior Ministry as part of a national forum on the need to protect children from sexual exploitation through the Internet.
“Of the 3,822 people participated in the survey, 32 percent said they had never discussed the matter with their children whether they were subjected to sexual harassment,” said Brig. Jasser Al-Jasser, member of the higher committee that organized the forum in Riyadh.
Thirty-nine percent of participants said they discussed the issue whenever there was a related incident. The survey was conducted among educated participants during the forum. “The result would have been worse if it was conducted among the general public,” Al-Jasser told Makkah daily.
He considered the survey’s result as “dangerous,” while emphasizing the need for parents to be vigilant about protecting their children from sexual abusers including close relatives.
Al-Jasser would not approve the opinion expressed by 18 percent of respondents as a positive approach. “Continuous discussion of the issue would look positive in appearance but it reflects parents’ tendency to exaggerate things and their confused mindset,” he explained.
He also pointed out that such an approach would have a negative impact on children as they would be afraid of dealing with others fearing they would become victims of sexual abuse. He said parents should give children self-confidence to deal with such cases.
Experts who participated in the forum expressed their concern over the growing number of parents who are not bothered about discussing sexual harassment issue with their children or those who talk with them the matter continuously.
They believe that the most appropriate approach was the one expressed by 39 percent of respondents who said they would discuss the issue with children whenever a related incident occur in order to make them cautious about possible sexual abusers.
Al-Jasser said the opinion expressed by 11 percent of participants could not be underestimated as they are not all bothered about the issue.
However, he said the stand taken by such respondents need to be analyzed to understand the real reason for them taking such a negative approach.