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KUWAIT CITY, May 22: A number of specialists warned about the increase in the number of cases of sexual harassment against children by 200 each year. They attributed the reasons behind this phenomenon to the decline in the number of expatriate families and subsequent increase in the number of bachelors, as a large number of expatriate families left the country due to the increased rents and increasing cost of living and medical fees.
A grade-7 student Hassan Ibrahim said his father keeps advising him to stay away from strangers and avoid approaching areas where there are high number of bachelor residents.
Citizen Sa’ad Al-Mutairi revealed that sexual harassment against children has become unbearable, and that he is constantly worried about the safety of his children from the laborers who can be seen wandering the streets of Khaitan especially since many of them lack the necessary morals that would reflect positively in their attitude. Umm Huda said her neighbor told her about a teacher, who was giving private tuitions to her daughter, behaving in a promiscuous manner with her daughter even though she is in grade 5.
Teacher Mohsen Jaber explained that most teachers are well behaved but there are some who give private tuitions even though they are not teachers. They have limited experience and introduce themselves as teachers. He called upon the guardians to take care in such situations and check the civil ID of their children’s tutors in order to confirm that they are teachers.
Jaber affirmed that a teacher working in a school has the required morals that would prevent him from doing such actions since he deals with students as a father would.
Lawyer Fawaz Al-Shalahi explained that this phenomenon is on a rise, due to which a tough punishment such as death sentence must be enforced because such a crime affects the victims so badly that many of them resort to committing suicide. Currently, the minimum penalty for rape is seven-year imprisonment and the maximum is death sentence which is reduced if the lawyer manages to prove that his client suffers from mental disorders.
Lawyer Al-Shalahi insisted that the punishment must be toughened to its utmost level when the victim is a child, as he/she would not be aware of the consequences of being victimized. Social expert Dr Abdullah Al-Hamad said this phenomenon was unknown in the Kuwaiti society in the past but it emerged and eventually increased since the oil era and the entry of a huge number of expatriates of different nationalities and different cultures to Kuwait. He highlighted the statistics that reveal the number of cases of sexual harassment against children was 108 in the year 2015 which increased to 110 during the first half of the year 2016.
Dr Al-Hamad stressed the increasing number of divorce cases that results in destruction of family unity and lesser attention shown to children, which in turn exposes children to many dangers including sexual harassment Feminist and activist Shaikha Al-Jelaibi affirmed that the number of incidents related to sexual harassment against children is increasing. She stressed the importance of increasing the awareness of children about their body especially the private parts so that they know no one is allowed to approach or touch them particularly in those parts.
Al-Jelaibi insisted that the perpetrators of the crime are not limited to expatriate laborers, as large number of rape crimes are committed by the relatives of the victims. She highlighted the lack of accurate statistics but indicated about a statistics which reveal that the number of crimes against children include rape has reached seven per day.
In addition, security expert and columnist Hamad Al- Sare’e stressed the need to toughen the punishment for such crimes to death penalty. He affirmed the keenness of securitymen to deal firmly with such crimes.
However, Al-Sare’e indicated that it is difficult to assign securitymen to watch and protect every child, and recommended increasing the awareness of children about staying safe and avoiding such circumstances.
By Najeh Bilal Al-Seyassah Staff