Saturday, March 11, 2006

How do we protect our children ?

Well, the inlaws have finally gone and I can say I am ecstatic. It was way too exhausting baby sitting 3 fully grown adults, alongside my daily chores which are too many to start with.

On to a more serious issue.
Does it not strike anyone how utterly stupid it is that the Ministry of education forces schools (unless you are one of the biggie ones with plenty of wasta- then you just just do whatever pleases you), to segregate the children from Grade 5 onwards?
The children have 3 options, a) the "G" section which is all girls, b) the "B" section which is all boys and then the "M" section which is mixed but they sit on separate sides.

When they travel on the bus, they sit where they want, and the older kids sit with the younger ones too often using language that results in your child coming home and asking you what it means.

A far more serious problem which has come to my attention recently is the case of a child (we shall call her SAM) 9 years old and on the slightly plump side.
Sam has been coming home this last week out of sorts from school, and not wanting to go to school. She is specially jumpy to get on the bus.
On much gentle questioning Sam has come up with this: according to her, the BUS CONDUCTOR has been putting his hand in her shirt and feeling her chest.
She was asked where the teachers are when this is taking place, or where the other students are. Unfortunately Sam is one of the last ones on the bus.

This has been going on for a while, and when asked why she did not report it earlier the child broke down and said she was scared. A very natural reaction to such a heinous crime. Sam has also discussed this with an older girl in her bus with whom the same conductor has been taking liberties and that (older) girl has remained quiet.
Now thankfully Sam's mother has always made Sam wear a vest so the Bastard conductor has not touched her skin. But does that really matter considering either way the whole experience has left her traumatised.

Sam's mother went to the school and had a long chat with the Principal, who said he would look into the matter. The conductor was suspended and Sam's mother had a another reassuring chat with her daughter. To make her feel safe and secure.

2 weeks later Sam came back with the news that the conductor is still working at the school, gives her odd looks, but has been taken off her bus.
Now, what happens? Sam has been instructed if he comes 3 feet near her she is to yell her head off. Should the parents insist on the removal of the Bus CONDUCTOR entirely?
But more importantly, when the MINISTRY is so hell bent on separating the children in the classes why can't they make it mandatory to have segregated buses?
In buses where the drivers are 99% male does it make sense to have MALE bus conductors too?
If our young daughters are to be traveling these buses and we are paying such exorbitant fees then why can't the least the school do is employ female helpers to be on the bus.
These are questions that need to be brought forward, and I feel sad that so many parents here, tend to be more concerned about their child being ostracised, of being rejected by other schools, of hampering their education, and being quiet or totally blind to these issues.
Why is there not a PROTECTION committee for the STUDENT body? Whom can we approach? How can we get some parents to become interactive on issues such as these where the Government is forced to sit up and pay attention. Surely its not only expat children who are specifically targeted for such abuse.

How do we protect our children?

26 comments:

  1. Outraged Harsha: ALL PARENTS TEACH THEIR DAUGHTERS, A KICK IN THE B***S, IS THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM ANY SUCH ADVANCES.

    I shall post again when I calm down.
    (why am i thinking of Balushi right now)

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  2. btw from the description of the school, sounds like Oxford.

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  3. File a report with the Police immediatly. If not then I can only say it will be a matter of time before he does something more serious. If he is inclined that way in the first place then there is no stopping him. If my kids used the same bus/school then I would be seriously concerned and would force the other parent to take immediate action. These people deserve to be in a cell.

    For godsake......KIDS FIRST.

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  4. i'm amused why the parent dint do all of what CG mentioned.

    and i am even more shocked that the school still let same conductor work there!!
    the parents may have feared this becoming and issue and highlighting the girls name around making an even bigger impact on her. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SCHOOL?? HAVE THEY NO SENSE??

    if appropriate action is taken , it will only make the girl stronger and even other girls (even lil boys for that matter) around her will be alert of ppl making advances on them, even outside school.

    Good to see you back after a long time CG, hows your thumb?

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  5. tell ze bolice straight away, like right now.

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  6. @ Harsha
    Ironically it is Cambridge run by the great GOD of GEMS Sunny Varkey.

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  7. @ cg
    going on all past experiences regarding cases of rape/beating/molestation as reported by the newspapers here, WILL THE LITTLE GIRL BE BELIEVED?
    IF she is BELIEVED will she be able to CONTINUE in the same school?
    Do you not remember that case about the boy who reported his teacher on having hit him, the poor kid is still trying to get admission in a decent school.
    But what is the solution?
    Why is there no system where we can all consolidate together and put a petition in to the DEWAAN or somewhere.

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  8. FILE A REPORT WITH THE POLICE AND THREATEN TO SUE THE SCHOOL.

    The chances of this pervert increasing his harmful actions against another child are high.

    How long before he rapes a child?

    Even if the conductor is local - and I'll bet he's not - you must report this to the police.

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  9. hes probably a guy from the sub-continent. It must be reported to the police. If the school had sacked the guy, Police involvement wouldnt be necessary. Kaya is also right, the child may not be able to continue in the school - which will really affect her and allll her relatives/friends/family and gonna look at her differently and she is not gonna be able to take it!

    you know what another probable thing you could do that may bring about some results, post a letter in leters to the editor in several papers - mentioning the name of the school clearly. The name of the parents/writer could be left anonymous.

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  10. If the girl is not believed, why can't you just remove her from that school and put her in another? I think keeping her in the same school in the presence of that conductor is worse than throwing her in a sack of snakes.

    I think writing to 7DAYS is also a good idea.

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  11. I would make a huge scene - head to the police to file a formal complain, warn each and every other parent whose kids in thats school to the fact that there is a sexual predator lurking around the school, contact the Educational District (al mantiqa al ta3leemiya), write to newspapers (Arabic and English), contact a legal adviser

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  12. Kaya the man should be removed instantly. there is no way he should be working anywhere near children. He should be convicted for abuse and harrasment and placed in a cell where he belongs.

    Indeed the situation is sensetive and has to be dealt with accordingly with regards to the girl involved, naturally she would not be thrilled that it be made public she is one of the victims for it is a situation that often leads to the child in question being placed in a very awkward spot and might cause her additional harm, however the other parents need to get involved and demand his removal immediately.

    I agree with moryarti.

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  13. One more thing, I do hope the girl is getting some sort of councelling. Often victims of such abuse feel guilt, and can become introvert in a negative way, and need to talk about it and put words on the experience and understand who in fact is the culprit. Especially in a child/ adult situation. It is often not enough with just the mother or father's intervention.

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  14. I have showed this page to Sam's mother and tried to explain the situation to her. i also had a chat with someone indirectly regarding the legal side. But unless the victim/guardian does not not issue any complaint the authorities are helpless.
    Sam's mother is upset with me that I broke a confidence. But I said to her I have used no names. Now she is worried about what her husband will say/think.
    Such is the middle class of the subcontinent.
    I remember when we first moved into this apartment, our neigbour used to mercilessly beat his wife every other night. I could hear her pitiful crying through the ventilation system sometimes till 3 in the morning. I remember being pregnant and emotionally vulnerable and how it would upset me.
    Eventually I did go up to the Police Station and told them, but sympathetic as they were they said they were helpless and in such cases the wife had to report. They also said in most cases the wife kept quiet and if ever se did complain then in more that 90% cases she took the complaint back.
    I have tried to write to the newspaper but GULF NEWS no matter how brave it tries to show itself is in fact a very cowardly paper.
    The other issue remains that I will have to reveal my source to verify the authenticity of my claim.
    How can I implicate this family when they do not wish to be part.

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  15. Alas that is the dilemma of such situations. At times like these one feels helpless, and perhaps if anything one can pray that somehow the victims family wihes to take action. Either way, I do hope that the child gets councelling, or gets to talk to someone outside her family, naturally with the family's involvement.

    I wonder though, if something can be done about at least removing the man from school, wether he is convicted or not. Or is that wishful thinking...

    yaar banda itna ghussa ho jaata! uff kabhi kabhi aisa lagta hai ke hamara culture bilkul poison ki tarah hai.

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  16. You are so right shaykhspeara.
    Kitna afsos hota hai jab aisi cheez hoti hai and you are left wringing your hands and feel so inadequate.
    Its moments like this that makes one want to take the law in ones own hands.

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  17. If she does not take her daughter out of school/sue the school/report it to the authorities then we can assume that she is of the same kind of people who do not restrain kids in moving vehicles. You broke her confidence because YOU have a personal interest in this. She told you something that could affect you, after all if the school has been so lax on this issue then how many other issues have been swept under the carpet that you do NOT know about. Stuff this mother, she may as well not be your friend right now for putting you in this position. You want what is best for your child and she can go to hell where she belongs for not caring about her own. Call 7 days and let them follow up the story.
    I despise people who take these matters lightly. I am not surprised that she fears her daughter may not be believed. I can hardly believe it happened simply because the mother has done fuck all about it. BRAVO>>>>>and the award for useless parent goes to Sam's Mum.
    BRAVO>>>>>and the award for pedophilia enticement goes to the CAmbridge school.
    BRAVO>>>>>Sunny Fuckey wins again.

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  18. And once again cg says it all in a nutshell! Nothing further needs to be said.
    Btw cg what was that harsha mentioned earlier about your thumb?

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  19. Whilst trying to control a vehicle with a disjointed hip, I attempted to pass a serrated edged box of pizza through to the 3rd row...which was yanked from my hand so fiercly that it sliced through the base of my thumb causing blood to spurt higher and faster than champagne escaping from a shaken bottle. The interior of my limo now resembles a abbotoir.

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  20. eeewwww, ok now - disjointed hip?

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  21. I think the media should be directed to this school to investigate.

    It is very unfortunate what has happened with the little girl but if this conductor is not fired, many more children are sure to be affected.

    Can the CID department help in this? There is also a confidential 'Al Ameen' service of Dubai police wherer I think you need not tell them your identity.

    Please, people who know this school, do something about it - don't have to discolse the girl's identity but DO talk to other parents who have girls.

    Think of it as doing a noble service for all the little girls who could be the potential victims.

    Of course, a long-term solution also is to have same-sex conductors. But child-abuse is sometimes not just from the opposite sex though.

    Children should, from an early age, be taught about the various kinds of 'touching'. If you don't, God forbid, someone else will.

    Please, do something about that man on the prowl. Talk to some inflential parent, form a parents association - let this be reason to start one if one does not already exist.

    farrukh

    PS: If your source is not willing to testify, be very careful about naming names.

    Big companies have a way of crushing criticism legally when they sense that the source is going to chicken out.

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  22. This is absolutely disgraceful. And it's a tragedy that Sam's mother (where's the dad?) ain't got the balls to kick up a huge stink about it. At the very least, make sure Sunny Varkey gets to know about it. For all his faults, his business empire can not tolerate this kind of thing.

    I know people feel powerless in this kind of situation, but really, you're not! All you have to do is make sure that you are addressing the decision maker. The head of the school will likely do whatever he can to keep the boat stable. He has his job to think of, after all, and probably thinks that keeping quiet is the best startegy.

    And I know that sub-continentals view and deal with these kinds of incidents very differently than do westerners. But at the end of the day, Sir Sunny will sort it out. He only has to hear about it!

    Involve the Police? When grown-up ladies can be jailed because they were raped and therefore had sex outside marriage? I wish the cops could be relied on to do the right thing.

    No, the only thing to do is go straight to the top. And none of that 'your esteemed majesty' baloney. Here's the draft of the letter: 'Sir Sunny, my dear, this happened. Please sort it. Luv and kisses, Sam's mum and dad.'

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  23. @ keefieboy
    I do so wholehearetdly agree with you but untill and unless the parents are not willing to talk I cannot do anything.
    Ofcourse this is not the first time I have had a TALk with my daughter about inappropiate touching by anyone friend/family/stranger and have always taught her. But I also know having had my bottom pinched or nudged in other parts how crippling the fear is that all your lessons go out the door in that one second.
    Now as a older woman, and more aware I can safely say I can and I have on on more than one occasion tunred around and slepped the first person within my reach and made a huge hue and cry.
    You will remember erading in the paper about a 9 year old girl who wqas recently molested at Carrefoure in Dubai by some sick bastard.
    No matter how many times my daughter whines pleads and pouts to be allowed to hang out in th cd section or books/magazines section I would rather she acted pouty and sulked through the entire shopping then let her stray from my sight for one second. i know we cannot protect our children 24 hours from everything bad. But I am damned if i am going to create the environment whereby such an incident can occur.
    So much so because she is a little on the plump side I make sure when we are at the beach she wears a swimsuit that covers her whole torso as much as it can. I realise she is a kid and wants toi frolic and have her innocent fun, but i am also aware of the sickos who hang out in public places like this fondling themselves at the expense of innocence.

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  24. @ Farrukh
    i have spoken to some people in the legal depertment and in the law enforcement agency and the fact remains that unless and untill the parents themselves are not willing to file a case no on else can do anything.
    This is why i posted this thinking maybe there is some ASSOCAITION whereby we as parents can write a PLEA to some SHIEKA and she could look into the matter consider it and issue some sort of decree to make it mandatory to have same sex conductors on bus. I agree that its not always the case that opposite sex is the one that is the molester but the evidence points more in that direction.
    I have also read many times that the POLICE carry out little demos at scghhols about saying NO to strangers. But sadly most of these demos take places in their own (ARABIC) schools and our children are left out.
    When all is siad and done we all agree our children are still safer in this part of the world than back home, but now with so many things changing these evil has seeped into this part and cannot be ignored. Such as, our children need to be instructed and guided by the institutions where we send them to for education. but all of these places are more concerned about collecting funds to aid some charity, to have their INTERNSATIONAL EVENINGS, and other social events that all reek of MOENY going into their pockets.
    Now keefieboy has made a very important and valid statement regarding subcons views on such issues. But to answer him here will be too lengthy so for this I will post a new entry.

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  25. Kaya, if the parents somehow agree to take this to the press (completely anonymously of course), I'd love to help out. All that's needed is for the parents to speak to the press (again, without their names appearing), which I know is quite unlikely.

    Let me know what happens, and of a way to contact you personally about this if you want.

    (I work in the media).

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  26. Sky
    Thank you for your concern.
    And everyone else too.
    But Sam's mom holds her ground, and I dont want to lose the privelage of the kid coming over and chilling out at my place.
    I have casual chats with her and my kid so that she understands how to deal with these things and understands that neither is it her fault, nor is it right to put up with it.

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