Young children can mimic sexual action, says psychologist

boy-sexualPETALING JAYA: A HELP University clinical psychologist says children often mimic actions that they observe.

This could have occurred in the case of the seven-year-old boy, alleged to have raped a six-year-old girl in Melaka.

Dr Ng Siew Li

Dr Ng Siew Li told FMT that very young children generally may not be able to comprehend the seriousness of their actions or think that their behaviour is immoral.

“They may have been curious instead of thinking of intentionally harming another child,” she said.

On July 20, a 30-year-old single mother lodged a police report that her daughter, six, was raped by a boy, seven.

She claimed her six-year-old daughter had complained of pain soon after returning from her babysitter’s house on the night of July 19.

The girl, according to the report, told her mother that the “pipit” (bird) of “abang” (the babysitter’s son) had caused the pain, claiming that the boy had inserted his fingers into her vagina when the adults were away.

The case has raised the question of whether a boy this age can rape anyone.

Dr Ravindran R Naidu

Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Ravindran R Naidu said that physically it is possible for a boy that age to have erections.

He said, however, that unless the young boy had precocious puberty, he will not produce spermatozoa.

“Thus, pregnancy will not occur. In any case, the alleged victim is also too young to get pregnant,” said Ravindran, adding that without more information it was impossible to speculate about the causes.

Meanwhile, Ng said that each person perceives a traumatic experience differently and that the intensity of fear experienced may be different.

“Reprimand and disapproval the child perpetrator receives from others may serve as a deterrent for future occurrences,” she said.

As for the child victim, she said that they may or may not experience post-traumatic symptoms as the human mind can be quite resilient and any immediate symptoms observed right after a traumatic event may dissipate over time without the need for any intervention.

She said in addition to possible post-traumatic symptoms from the event, children may be exposed to additional stressors from repeated questions by the police, parents, teachers, friends or medical professionals.

“Therefore, family and social support are usually very important and helpful.”

James Nayagam

Suriana Welfare Society chairman James Nayagam said that it is important that both children go through therapy, which is where welfare societies like his come in, post-hospital treatment.

He said that it’s important to learn how the young boy gained the knowledge to cause him to role-play the sexual act.

“My suspicion is he may have either seen somebody doing it, someone has been watching porn movies in front of him or someone may have done it to him,” Nayagam told FMT.

He said the boy’s environment needs to be investigated to see who he is living with or if he has been abused.

Nayagam suggested the boy receive some therapy in order to forget what happened or to damper it.

“No ordinary child will pick up such things.

“Information on his background is crucial and a decision needs to be made if the child needs to be removed or else he may be constantly open to this sort of environment.”

Melaka CID chief SAC Kamaluddin Kassim summoned the parents of both children for questioning and has directed his officers to be extra tactful in handling the case, as it involves young children.