I was listening the news tonight when I stumbled upon this terrible story:
June 2: Teacher behind sexual abuse transferred to hospital amid tight security [source]
The 22-year-old plastic arts teacher, accused of sexually harassing 11 minor students, was transferred to Our Lady of Lebanon Hospital on Saturday after he had a car accident.
While the causes of the accident remain unknown, information emerged on the possibility that the teacher, who is currently receiving treatment amid tight security measures, has committed suicide.
The abuser’s vehicle, a purple Volkswagen, was totally crashed during the accident.
Police officers, from the Zouk Mosbeh police station, rushed to the accident scene and managed to link between the report of sexual abuse aired by LBCI and the car accident.
The Public Prosecution Department, the Parent Committee of the relevant school as well as four of the victims’ families filed a complaint against the teacher.
In turn, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour filed a lawsuit against the abuser, given his position as President of the Higher Council for Childhood in Lebanon.
June 1: 11 students sexually harassed by teacher in Mount Lebanon’s school [source]
Eleven girls, whose age range between six and eight, fell victim to their almost 20-year-old teacher’s sexual assault at a fine Catholic school in Mount Lebanon.
The teacher is said to have harassed the girls and forced them to take nude photos of them.
The secret was revealed by coincidence when one of the girls decided to inform her parent of her plastic art teacher’s abusive acts. The 6-year-old girl told her mother that her teacher tried to lift her skirt and to place his body against hers.
The girl also told her mother what her teacher had also done to her friends: “He took one of them to the toilet and forced another one to take off her clothes. Another girl cried when she saw blood on her underwear”.
The school forced the teacher to resign awaiting the investigations’ results. As for the parents, four of them decided to file a lawsuit against the assaulter while other parents are waiting for their daughters to undergo a psychological treatment before subjecting them to the coroner’s examination.
As for the suspect, his actual and virtual whereabouts are unknown given that has deleted all his social networks’ accounts.
Himaya, the Lebanese NGO against child abuse wrote this on their Facebook Page:
Dear Lina, Elias, Joy and many others concerned about the unfortunate event described in the LBCI News report, our only reaction can only be to work harder in order to better serve our mission protecting children in danger. This is certainly an alarming situation however it is sadly not a rare one; everyday children wherever they are, encounter risks of becoming victims of child abuse, this is why ‘himaya’ was founded in the first place, and has been raising awareness, teaching self-protection skills to young children, teenagers and parents in over 40 schools in Lebanon. Breaking the silence is the only way of getting children to talk about what is really going on in their day to day life. ‘himaya’ is certainly intervening directly in the event described in the LBCI News report and seeing that the Lebanese Law has been reviewed on the matter, the ‘professor’ will be sent to trial and incarcerated for sexual assault on young miners. Facing such disturbing events all we can do is take a strong stand against child abuse of all forms and not only sexual abuse, fighting back by raising awareness among our children and breaking the silence! We will not stop looking into the event that took place, we are determined by our one and only cause!”
I don’t care about the details nor whether the story is true or not. These things DO happen. That’s the major concern here and, in general, the problem DOES exist.
While parents and schools don’t talk about sex and other taboos, predators are free. I only have to go back to my own school years to understand it: We had more religion hours than sexual awareness hours. Sexual awareness was a two hour thing that took place in one of the school years. (A one time thing only) Sexual harassment or any kind of prevention session were nonexistent. Parents never brought these subjects up. A friend said that she tried but her dad replied with a “whatever happens to a girl is her fault. If it happens to you, I shall kill you.”
That was more than 10 years ago. Today, nothing changed. Parents still rely on the schools to do everything education and schools think that some subjects should be taken over by the parents.
And during University? Anything? No awareness. No reporting procedures. What about later at work? It’s really complicated.
Recently, a history teacher, a friend, got an angry parent phone call for talking about a Roman goddess while explaining the religious aspect of ancient Rome. “How dare you show the picture of a naked woman (the statue) in class?”.
Dear parents, what do you want? Your kids will never be safe in ignorance. Dear schools and universities, you should review your programs and put a reporting procedure in place. It’s everybody’s responsibility.
Today, my friend says she blames everyone when she tales the story of the chemistry teacher who kept caressing her neck in class, the school bus driver who kept caressing her leg and tried to rape her on the way home, the university student who got naked in front of her without notice and the boyfriend who raped and ruined her. If she knew she would have spoken out, done something about it and it would have protected other classmates.
Break the silence. Not talking about the problem doesn’t mean there isn’t one.